In their continued effort to boost and support the Kennedy Center in Trumbull, state Reps. David Rutigliano (R-123) and Laura Devlin (R-134) announced that Trumbull has been awarded a state Small Town Assistance Program (STEAP) grant for improvements to the center.

The $299,000 STEAP grant will be used for infrastructure improvements to the Kennedy Center.

The funds will allow for the engineering, design and construction for refurbishment or replacement of parking lots, sidewalks, curbs and landscape at 39 Lindeman Drive and 2440 Reservoir Avenue in Trumbull. These properties are located on the Kennedy Center campus which serves more than 2,000 individuals with disabilities each year.  

“Many of the over 2,000 individuals with disabilities that our organization serves each year in addition to our 800 staff members, hundreds of volunteers and other stakeholders, some with significant ambulation challenges, access our facilities on a daily basis,” said Marty Schwartz, president and CEO in a statement to The Times.

“It is vitally important that this access remains unencumbered,” he added. “Through this grant we will be able to ensure that all who require our service and their families, as well as all others, will be able to easily access our Trumbull facilities.”  

The project will benefit the local community by supporting a comprehensive program of services offered to people with special needs from birth to senior years.

“We are deeply grateful to the State of Connecticut for providing us with the resources to meet this important infrastructure need,” Schwartz said. “We are hopeful that, as the state budget review process proceeds, there will also be the recognition that years of programmatic funding cuts  to our state’s cost effective non-profit organizations, like the Kennedy Center, be reversed so that the very deserving individuals with disabilities who reside in our communities continue to be provided with the opportunity to reach their greatest potential as productive, contributing members of our society.”

State Representative Dave Rutigliano (R-123), who spearheaded the legislative push for the Trumbull project, was pleased with the Feb. 11 announcement.

“We received some very welcome news today,” Rep. Rutigliano said. “The Kennedy Center is an amazing asset to the community. This STEAP award will help maintain and develop the center’s infrastructure in a manner that is crucial for the increasing needs of the organization.”

State Rep. Laura Devlin called the Kennedy Center “a great asset and is of utmost importance to the people it serves.”

“The organization cannot accomplish its mission on its own, I want to thank the state for this much needed grant,” she added.

Schwartz said he was very grateful for Rutigliano for his leadership and commitment in pursuing this STEAP grant.  

“We also wish to express our deep gratitude to Rep. Laura Devllin and all area legislators for their strong endorsement of this award,” he added. “Further, this grant would not have been possible without Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst recognizing the need for this infrastructure enhancement as a major priority and advocating on our behalf.”

Background

Since 1951, The Kennedy Center has been serving individuals with disabilities and special needs throughout the State of Connecticut. It currently serves 2,452 individuals with disabilities, from birth to senior years, and their family members. The Kennedy Center provides assistance with essential activities of daily living and quality of life supports and programs for people from 91 communities throughout our state, through its Residential, Rehabilitative and Kennedy Industries services.

Under the rules of the STEAP program, localities may receive up to $500,000 per year if (1) their population is under 30,000, (2) they are not designated as a distressed municipality or a public investment community, and (3) the State Plan of Conservation Development does not show them as having an urban center. There are 143 municipalities in Connecticut that are eligible to apply for the highly competitive grants.