Funding OK’d for Meriden police cadets, Goffe House, barbershop

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MERIDEN — A panel this week recommended the city utilize federal COVID-19 relief monies to fund requests sought by the Meriden Police Cadets, Legendz Barbershop and Solomon Goffe House. 

The American Rescue Plan Act Steering Committee on Monday night voted to recommend the City Council fund the proposals, after the committee heard presentations from representatives of those agencies. 

If approved, Meriden Police Cadets could receive $244,000 to support its program for teens and young adults between 14 to 21 years old. According to the program’s leaders it provides members with college and career readiness opportunities with a focus on public safety related professions. The program, according to its applications, also participates in a series of community service projects, and provides its members with opportunities to become certified in first aid and CPR. 

Program leaders explained it provides assistance to cadets in college and job applications, while exposing students to potential public safety careers. The program, which serves around 25 young adults and teens each year, aims to make as much of its offerings free of cost to participants. 

The amount the committee recommended funding represents a reduction from program leaders’ original ask of $294,000. Officials noted that some of the funding sought would not be eligible under federal ARPA rules, because it was scheduled to be expended after Dec. 31, 2024. 

Mayor Kevin Scarpati asked the program’s leaders if a $50,000 cut, due to the rules around expenditure dates, would be too draconian. 

City Manager Timothy Coon recommended the cut in case some of the sought items are deemed not allowable under ARPA funding rules. 

“That allows a cushion to deal with the items that probably are not allowable for funding, but still allows us to meet the vast majority of funds for this valuable and useful program,” Coon said. 

The committee also voted to recommend the Solomon Goffe House receive $200,000 in funding. The figure is a reduction in the amount sought by the organization that runs the 312-year-old museum, which its caretaker Joshua Dummitt, described as Meriden’s oldest house. The house, built in 1711, is located at 667 Old Colony Road. The house, which is city owned, operates as a living museum, Dummitt said. 

The funding, if approved by the City Council, would be used to replace the house’s aging windows, which Dummitt said would help preserve the building and keep out moisture. The funds would also be used toward repainting the facility as well as toward electrical work and chimney repair — especially to the house’s main hearth, which is utilized for cooking demonstrations, Dummitt explained. 

During the committee’s discussions, city officials asked whether the Solomon Goffe House, as an historic building and being city owned, may qualify for other funding that could cover the repairs sought. 

Dummitt indicated that his organization in conjunction with Parks & Recreation Department leaders has not sought such funding.

Meanwhile, Legendz Barbershop, located at 246 W. Main St., seeks $20,000 to fund a series of interior improvements, which were outlined by business owner Krystal Jones. Those improvements include the replacement of barber chairs and waiting area seats, along with repainting the interior. 

Jones explained the changes would allow her business to grow, describing the business as “an asset to the community.”

“I wouldn’t have lasted if I wasn’t,” Jones said. 

The committee recommended the proposal, with the stipulation that the business obtain approvals from the property owner to make physical improvements. 

Prior to the committee’s unanimous vote, Jones noted that her lease for the space states that any alterations to the area where the business operates are her responsibility. 

“I’m responsible, top to bottom, for the barbershop,” Jones said.



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