Soldiers’ Monument gets passed over for STEAP grant
WINSTED — While the town received a Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant to fund building permanent restrooms at Walker Field, it did not receive funds for several other projects.On Dec. 30, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy traveled to Winsted to announce the state approved a STEAP grant of $125,000 in order to build the restrooms.However, Mayor Maryann Welcome said the town applied for four other projects; all of them were rejected by the state.The primary project was a restoration project for Soldiers’ Monument, which would have helped preserve and protect it from rain and bad weather.The monument, located on Crown Street, was built in 1890. It was erected as a tribute to more than 300 Winsted area soldiers who served in the Civil War.The proposed project, according to Soldiers’ Monument Commission Chairman Steve Silvester, involves the construction of a new roof, repainting exterior masonry and the implementation of a passive ventilation system to solve interior moisture and humidity problems.“It would have essentially made the exterior envelope of the monument watertight, which right now it is not,” Silvester said. “When it rains outside, it rains inside as well. One of the three windows from the first floor has water dripping down from the window frame. I would not say it has quite reached emergency proportions yet, but the sooner it gets done the better. The longer we wait, it will only get more expensive to complete.”Silvester said the town applied for $335,000 in STEAP grant funds to pay for the project.“Don’t get me wrong, if the state only had so much money, and if it came down to a choice between money for the restrooms and money for the monument, I don’t think anyone in the state made the wrong decision,” Silvester said. “Our next course to fund the project will be to pursue other grant opportunities. This isn’t entirely a sad story. Town Manager Dale Martin has said that the town is strongly behind us.”Mayor Welcome said that, indeed, the town is behind the project and would apply for STEAP grant funds again.“Hopefully the state will see that this is a historic monument and a landmark that we have to preserve,” Welcome said. “I would think that the people who work in state government, who are always trying to upgrade monuments in other towns, would know about the value of historical heritage. ”Welcome said the state rejected three other proposed projects for STEAP grant funding: Improvements to walls in Forest View Cemetery, improved lighting on Main Street and improved “Welcome to Winsted” signs on both ends of town.