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Town Proposes Spending Biden COVID-19 Relief Money On New Ice Rink, YMCA Expansion

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Dylan Housman Healthcare Reporter
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The town of New Canaan, Connecticut, is seeking to direct hundreds of thousands of dollars in COVID-19 relief funding to projects including a new ice rink and a YMCA expansion.

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

The rink would be built by a private entity which would charge for admission, and the goal is to have the rink operational by Thanksgiving, the New Canaanite reported.

New Canaan CFO Lunda Asmani said the main criteria for ARPA spending is for public health expenditures, addressing negative economic impacts from the pandemic and replacing lost revenues during COVID-19. However, a public records request by the New Canaanite revealed that much of the proposed spending by the town does not fall into those categories.

The proposal includes a request for $750,000 to refurbish the New Canaan Playhouse, $250,000 to expand daycare services at a local YMCA and $40,000 for new equipment for NCTV79, New Canaan’s public access television network. (RELATED: One Of The Wealthiest School Districts In US Reallocates COVID-19 Relief Funds Toward ‘Equity’ Programs)

New Canaan is one of the wealthiest towns in the northeast, with a median household income of $174,611, according to the 2010 census. The town’s per capita income of $105,846 is tied for the highest in the state of Connecticut.