The State Bond Commission granted $81,500 to the town of Rocky Hill Friday to be used to make improvements to Dividend Park.
“I am pleased to have been able to secure this funding for the people of Rocky Hill," said state Rep. Tony Guerrera (D-Rocky Hill) in release sent out Monday. He added that he found "walking along Dividend Brook is remarkable."
The funding is expected to used to make the following improvements to the :
- Streetscape improvements
- New signage including points of interest markers to archaeological sites
- Construction of two walking bridges
- Improvements to the parking lot
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Park and Recreation Director Lisa Zerio said she would like to setup a management and maintenance plan for the park, which had a
"I don't have the staff to devote to the park," she said.
Guerrera credited for "their of the park."
“The volunteers who saved this area from development and have spent hours blazing trails and cleaning out trash should be commended," he said. "Their commitment to Dividend Park will mean future generations can enjoy hiking the trails and relaxing by the ponds and waterfalls."
Zerio agreed with the state lawmaker.
"We wouldn't be where we are today without them," she said. "We have to thank Sandi and Ed for their service."
Chiucarello thanked Guerrera for the grant proposal.
"This is Phenomenal! Stupendous," he said. "I am so pleased to call myself a Rocky Hillian."
From information provided by Chiucarello, the area where Dividend Park is now located served as Rocky Hill's first industrial park from 1667 when it was granted to Rev. Gershom Bulkeley until the early 1900s. The park produced such items as horseshoes, lumber, toys and hoes among others.
During the 1920s, the dam was constructed and in 1975, it was taken over by Rocky Hill. A study on the dam was conducted in 2001 and several residents and experts feel there are safety concerns with the dam.
In 2002, amateur archaeologist June Cooke along with the friends of the Office of Connecticut Archaeology conducted a dig in Dividend Park. In 2004, the land was designated as a state archaeological preserve and was placed on the State Historic Register after years of research and review.
Before the town can use the money, Zerio said she must meet with the town staff and the volunteer committee. Then the grant must be brought in front of Park and Recreation Advisory Board, a council subcommittee and the council itself.
In the end, Zerio is thankful for grant money.
"It was like having Christmas in June," she said. "Christmas came early."