State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) today welcomed the approval of a $200,000 STEAP grant to the Town of Westport to help build a new Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts by 2012. Senator Boucher has been working with local officials and The Friends of the Pavilion to secure the grant since July and thanked Governor M. Jodi Rell for supporting the request. Specifically, the funding will be used for the construction of a stage, entrance and improved access to the River Walk.
“Built in 1973, the Levitt Pavilion has established itself as an important part of Westport’s cultural heritage. The Pavilion has brought a diverse offering of live music and entertainment free of charge to Westporters and residents of neighboring towns for the past 37 years,” said Senator Boucher. “I’m pleased to know that this award, along with the dedicated fundraising efforts of The Friends of the Pavilion will help bring this important local asset back to its original condition for future generations to enjoy.”
The Levitt Pavilion provides 60 free concerts each year and has been the focal point for other community events and activities for area residents of all ages. But recently the building has fallen into disrepair. For safety reasons, the structure had to be removed three years ago, and a temporary stage put in its place. In November of 2009 the Westport Planning and Zoning Commission approved the construction of this facility, which is set to reopen in 2012. The Levitt Pavilion has now raised $3.2 million toward its goal of $5 million. Plans include improvements to the existing river walk to both widen and enhance the path with greater accessibility for all. The new Pavilion will be a gold certified-Leed sustainable green facility.
In a press release announcing the grant, Governor M. Jodi Rell said, “This grant will add more to the luster of Westport’s Levitt Pavilion. From its beginnings in the 1970’s, the Pavilion has been a Westport tradition, bringing families and friends together for evenings under the stars, free of charge.”
The $200,000 grant was awarded as part of the Connecticut Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) which provides financial assistance for projects that encourage economic development and preserve the character of the state’s less-populated towns.