State Bond Commission Approves $4 Million in Funding for West Haven Projects

January 3, 2022

The West Haven State Delegation is pleased to announce that the City of West Haven will be receiving significant State funding to update projects across the City. The $4 million in funding will provide much needed support for two overall projects to improve and invest in the shoreline and downtown center.

State Representative Dorinda Borer (D – West Haven), Co-Chair of the State Bond Committee, confirmed that one approved project includes $2 million to remodel the sewage pump stations on Beach Street and Ocean Avenue, which currently stand as cinderblock structures along the shoreline with attached bath houses that have been closed for decades. The approved funding will be used to build new pump stations with fully functional restrooms and a Cape Cod design.

These funds coupled with the funds that the State Delegation secured for the Flood Gates, the Pedestrian Bridge and Beach Street bring a total State investment into our shoreline of over $10 million dollars. 

"Our delegation values how important our shoreline is to this community and together we will continue to look towards future investments," said Borer. "We are excited to have pitched new buildings that will better fit into the aesthetics of our beautiful coastline and will also support our pump stations."

The second project is a $2 million investment in West Haven's Downtown historic and culture areas, which provides support for non-profit buildings including the West Haven Historical Society and the Ward Heitmann House Museum, along with $1.5 million for the Arts and Culture Center located on Center Street.  

The vision for converting the Mason Temple into an Arts Center was initiated almost 18 years ago.  The project was overseen by several Administrations over the years and while incremental steps were made, some challenges have also occurred. 

'While we recognize this will not be the panacea to revitalizing downtown, it certainly will be a significant contribution towards the ultimate goal of creating an open atmosphere of activity, community and business. With its architectural design, the Arts Center could be the perfect backdrop for a small dinner theater space, exhibits, creative programs, youth camps, performances and more.  It is a perfect time to revisit the overall vision of how Arts & Culture fits into and can benefit our community." said Borer.  "Masonic Temples, because of the way their features were built, have been closing across the country and many cities such as Los Angeles, Philly and DC are all success stories of taking taken those closing buildings and turning them into Community Centers." 

State Representative Charles Ferraro (R – West Haven, Orange, Milford) who supported the projects was amongst those excited about the funding. "With the holiday season kicking into high gear it is wonderful news that West Haven will receive some much-needed help with some of our infrastructure needs as well as our downtown revitalization efforts. Thanks to the hard work of State Representative Dorinda Borer and her role on the Finance and Bonding Committee. Those grant dollars will be divided among our two pumping stations for much needed repair and new bathrooms.  Additionally, the 1.5-million-dollar grant to the arts center will help jump start our efforts to revitalize our down town.” said Ferraro.

Mayor Nancy Rossi who has made the Arts Center one of her Administration's priorities said: "I want to thank Representative Borer for her continued efforts to bring state funding to West Haven. This funding will allow the city to move forward with our planned sewer pump station upgrades along the shorefront and add additional and much needed restrooms for beach goers and walkers. Funding will also contribute the renovation and opening of the art center downtown, as well as, needed upgrades to the Ward-Heitmann House. This funding is critical for the continued progress and future of West Haven."

Jon Purmont, President of the Historical Society, was thrilled with the news that the Historical Society would receive funding. "The West Haven Historical Society is an important asset to the City because it keeps alive the records of the history, growth, and development of West Haven from its settlement in 1648 to the present. It is a vital resource of information about the people who lived here, the social and material culture which flourished here, along with the educational, business, and economic components that characterized West Haven over time. The Society's landmark home, the historic Poli House, which stands opposite the West Haven Green, is a reminder the community treasures its notable past and values its future as the state's youngest municipality."

"This was a true collaboration between the City and State officials and our community partners" said Borer.