Matt Lesser

State Senator

Matt Lesser

Deputy Majority Leader

Your Independent Voice

September 27, 2022

Lesser, Middletown Delegation Announce $12 Million in State Funding for Riverfront Project

Today, state Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown), state Senator Mart Daugherty Abrams (D-Meriden), state Representative Brandon Chaffee (D-Middletown), state Representative Quentin “Q” Williams (D-Middletown), and Middletown Mayor Benjamin Florsheim announced new state funding for “Return to the Riverbend” Project in Middletown.

The Community Investment Funds (CIF) released $12 million to the city of Middletown for the project set to reconnect the community to the riverfront. The plan looks for the redevelopment of 220 acres of land located in downtown Middletown along the Connecticut river.

“This project, with potential that is almost immeasurable, will serve our residents and connect our neighborhoods to the riverfront,” said Sen. Lesser. “The Connecticut River is the beating heart of our region. This historic investment in Middletown’s riverfront will be transformative for our region and Middletown’s future. I’m deeply grateful to the Community Investment Fund for backing our proposal and investing a truly transformative project. This is the shot in the arm we have been hoping for.”

“I am thankful to the CIF for approving these funds,” said Sen. Daugherty Abrams. “This will further strengthen an already strong downtown Middletown and presents another great place for people to gather.”

“This is a great investment for Middletown and will help us realize the long awaited goal of a revitalized riverfront.” said Rep. Chafee. “This is the type of project we had in mind when we created the Community Investment Fund, and this funding will ensure we begin to build a vibrant riverfront for everyone to enjoy for generations. I’d like to thank the members of the CIF for approving this funding.”

“First, I want to say thank you to the Community Investment Fund (CIF) board for approving this vital funding to support the Middletown Riverfront Master Plan,” said Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams. “I am looking forward to the enormous economic impact this project will have and the ripple effect it will create including new businesses, new jobs, affordable housing, and increased tourism. This type of investment will help Middletown capitalize on existing unused and unproductive assets and reconnect the community to the Connecticut River, one of our town’s most vital natural resources.”

“It is impossible for me to overstate both how important this funding is to the next phase of Middletown’s riverfront, and how ideal the timing is with the recent completion of the Return to the Riverbend Master Plan,” said Mayor Florsheim. “The Middletown community offers its huge thanks to the CIF board and to Governor Lamont for their vote of confidence in this project, as well as our state delegation—Rep. Chafee, Rep. Williams, Sen. Lesser, and Sen. Abrams—for championing this application and helping to navigate it through state government. The message this sends to our residents, as well as to future development and funding partners, is clear: our City and State are committed to reconnecting our communities to the river—not just in words, but in actions.”

CIF Funding will specifically be used to complete remediation of the Peterson Oil Property, the Waste Water Treatment Plan, and Jackson Corrugated Container at 225 River Road, one of the few properties outside of the floodplain suitable for mixed use development. Additionally, it will include funding for engineering and 40% schematic design for public spaces including stabilization of the riverbank and resiliency of shoreline, flood mitigation, and help unlock 50 acres of public park space and 7 miles of pedestrian and bike friendly pathways. Furthermore, Middletown is seeking to construct a new Middletown High School Boathouse and create public access of the riverfront along Rt 9.