Connecticut Town Plans On Blowing COVID Relief Funds On Something Big

The town of New Canaan, Connecticut, wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID-19 relief funding on projects that would include a new ice rink and a YMCA expansion.

Town officials are seeking to spend $100,000 of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to build an open-air ice rink, according to the New Canaanite. Tuesday night the town’s Board of Selectmen met to review the proposal for the town’s first allocation of $6 million in funds from the ARPA.

The ice rink would be built by a private company that would charge admission, the goal is to have the rink open by Thanksgiving, the publication reported.

New Canaan CFO Lunda Asmani explained the criteria for ARPA spending is primarily for public health expenditures, addressing negative economic impacts from the pandemic and replacing lost revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. A public records request by the New Canaanite showed that the majority of the proposed spending by the town does not fall under those categories.

Requests in the proposal include $750,000 to renovate the New Canaan Playhouse, $250,000 to expand daycare services at a local YMCA, and $40,000 for equipment for New Canaan’s public access network NCTV79.

New Canaan is one of the wealthiest towns in the northeast and has a median household income of $190,227.

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