HARTFORD – The State Bond Commission is poised to approve $1.5 million for the Oak Hills Park Master Plan, according to a press release from House Minority Leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk (R-143), but the project still has hurdles to clear before becoming a reality.
The commission, headed by Gov. Dannel Malloy, meets Friday, July 25.
According to the commission’s agenda, the money is to be used “to provide a grant-in-aid to the city of Norwalk for improvements to the Oak Hills golf course.
“The project will include the construction of a new golf learning center, a new nature learning center and other facility improvements.”
The total cost of the project, according to Oak Hills Park Authority (OHPA) figures, is $4.3 million. The driving range – or golf learning center – alone has been said to cost about $2 million.
Cafero said in the press release he was gratified that the item has been placed on the commission’s agenda, and thanked Malloy for his support.
“This is welcome news,” Cafero said. “A lot of people put a great deal of effort into this and now we can move forward to make this tremendous public asset an even better facility that serves thousands of people every year.’’
OHPA Vice Chairman Ernie DesRochers said, “We want to create greater uses for the park for everyone, not just golfers. This is great news because we now start implementing our Master Plan for the park.’’
Celebrations might have to be tempered, as the plan still must get approval from the Planning Commission and the Common Council. The Authority has said it will seek a loan from the city for the rest of the money. And while neither Council President Doug Hempstead nor Majority Leader Jerry Petrini responded Saturday to an emailed request for comment, Mayor Harry Rilling repeated the stance he has taken since before he was elected in November.
“I’m not in favor of taking on more financial obligations for the city at this time,” he said.