Governor Lamont Approves $500,000 State Grant for Girls Softball Field in Coventry
New Softball Fields Help Resolve Longstanding Gender-Equity Issue Among Town Sports Facilities
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he is approving a $500,000 state grant for the Town of Coventry to create a permanent softball field for use by the Coventry Girls Softball League.
The state funding helps bring a resolution to the longstanding concern among many of the town’s residents over the lack of a field in the town for use by the league, even though the boys baseball league has two permanent fields. For years, the girls’ teams have needed to play on fields that are borrowed, requiring them to schedule their games around times when those fields were not being used by the boys’ teams.
In November 2021, voters approved a referendum to spend $350,000 in town funding to construct the town’s first softball field, which has already gone out to bid. However, town officials say that the number of female participants in softball has grown in recent years and needs two fields to fully support them. This $500,000 state grant will allow the town to construct a second softball field, bringing facilities for the girls’ league on par with those of boys’ baseball. This second field will be located in Miller Richardson Park in a lot behind the Coventry Public Works building at 100 Olsen Farm Road. It will require the town’s transfer station to be relocated. The project includes the construction of a regulation field, fencing, irrigation, a scoreboard, landscaping, parking, ADA sidewalks, dugouts, benches, and pitching cages.
“When it comes down to it, this is a gender-equity issue,” Governor Lamont said. “Girls’ sports are just as valuable and necessary to our communities as boys’ sports, and they should have equal access to facilities. I am glad that the state can partner with the town to make the creation of these softball fields a reality. I applaud the efforts of so many residents in Coventry who voiced their concerns and advocated in a true grassroots fashion to bring this issue to the attention of town and state officials.”
This state grant is being provided through the Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP), a state program managed by the Office of Policy and Management that delivers grants to small towns for economic development, community conservation, and quality-of-life capital projects. Funding to support the grant was approved at the March 31, 2022, meeting of the State Bond Commission, a group that Governor Lamont leads as chairperson.
In addition to this STEAP grant, during the most recent meeting of the State Bond Commission in July, Governor Lamont and the commission’s other members voted to approve the release of $500,000 in state bond funding for the Town of Coventry to implement its parks and recreations facilities master plan.