Funds For Richter House Welcomed

July 28, 2015

Danbury State Representatives David Arconti, Jan Giegler and Bob Godfrey are pleased that the State Bond Commission is expected to approve two grants for projects in Danbury at its meeting Tuesday, July 28. The first is a $1 million grant to assist with the preservation of the historic Richter House in Richter Park. The second is to fund a $250,779 project for renovations to 22 Orchard Street for two neighboring independent nonprofits, Family & Children’s Aid and the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury.

Richter House

“I am happy that this funding request has been slated for approval to help with architectural preservation and to support the arts both locally and regionally. The afterschool environmental programs will be a great learning opportunity for students,” said Rep. Arconti, Vice-chair of the Environment Committee. “Western Connecticut is becoming known as an arts destination throughout the region and Richter House will be a fine addition.”

The Danbury Arts and Entertainment Center at Richter Park project will cost $4.9 million in total and be funded by a combination of sources, a $1 million state grant, private donations, and the City of Danbury. The Richter House will be fully renovated and expanded into an art, musical and environmental education facility, including a performance and community center.

“I’m pleased about the long range plan for the preservation of Richter House and the programs that will be created by this expansion, including enhancing the arts, music, theater and environmental education programs,” Rep. Giegler said. “This is a good start to the capital improvements that will preserve this local landmark for generations to come.”

The new performance art center will be in keeping with the historic home’s New England farm style to accommodate up to 150 people. The grounds will get new stone walls, a patio and landscaping to complement the home and panoramic open space.

Varied programs will be offered in the arts, musical performances, acting, dancing and production; bio-learning, aquatic, and wildlife studies; and a summer youth camp and after school programs for children.

Family and Children’s Aid and the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury

The $250,779 grant will renovate office space for the Family & Children’s Aid (FCA) and the Hispanic Center downtown. This non-profit collaborative will support their common client base, provide better convenience for those families, and expand their program offerings in a larger building space near their current location.

“I’ve worked closely with the 200+ year old Family and Children’s Aid going back to the state bonding for their Child Guidance Center,” said Rep. Godfrey. “They have embraced the challenges shared with their West Street neighbors at the Centro Hispano, and worked together on this capital project. Their needs exceed their current space and this grant will provide the extra room and allow them to divert operating funds currently going to overhead to direct assistance. That’s good for all of their clients.”

This collaboration will amplify the Hispanic Center programs as there is an overlap between the two groups who service many of the same families. The new additional space will allow them to serve more families with parenting classes and ESL instruction while saving money on rent and utilities. It will offer a new technology lab for clients of both groups to teach adults computer and internet skills, and resume writing and job search assistance. The new facility is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016.

“I’m also very happy that both FCA and the Centro Hispano will continue their cooperation through a new joint development team to find innovative options to expand services through new revenue,” noted Rep. Godfrey. “I look forward to doing all that I can to help them achieve their missions.”