On Friday, the State Bond Commission awarded the grant, according to Elizabeth Park Conservancy leaders.
The nonprofit started raising money for renovation work in December 2016 when leaders applied for a grant through the bond commission, Elizabeth Park Conservancy President Christine Doty said Thursday. The total cost for the renovations is about $1 million, Doty said. The building is currently a rarely-used restroom facility. The restrooms are rarely open to the public because the space isn’t monitored and has been vandalized, Doty said. She said the building was constructed in 1938 and it doesn’t appear it has ever been renovated.
“It’s a shame to have a lovely historic building unused, so we decided why not combine it with a visitor center, which is something we’ve never had,” Doty said.
About three-quarters of the space would be repurposed as a visitor center and the remaining space would be used for men’s and women’s bathrooms, Doty said. The visitor center, Doty said, would include a video screen with information displayed about the park, as well as racks for printed materials
and educational kiosks about the park and the park’s flowers. The visitor center would be staffed with a receptionist and volunteers, Doty said. Exterior improvements include some modifications to parking, Doty said, and a ramp for wheelchair access.
The renovation project is early in the process, Doty said, and the plans have to be submitted to the West Hartford Planning and Zoning Department as well as the historic district commission.
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