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City-State Plan For Preserving Old State House Advances

By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer

February 28, 2008

The city council has approved leasing the Old State House to the state of Connecticut for 99 years, a key step in a plan that preservationists hope will guarantee the future of the historic structure.

"It's a terrific thing, absolutely, no doubt about it," said Kate Steinway, executive director of the Connecticut Historical Society. "It needs care and feeding. These old buildings are a drain, and they do take a lot of money. It's got a slate roof, it's got paint that's peeling all over, and it really is the jewel of Hartford."

The historical society has maintained and operated the Old State House for more than four years, first as a city tenant and then under a temporary arrangement with the state.

It became clear last year that the 18th century building was becoming too costly for Steinway's organization to maintain and at more than half a million a year operate. The state stepped in last year and approved a plan allowing the General Assembly to lease the building from the city.

The legislature's current budget includes $500,000 to keep the doors open. The state also has some repairs in mind $600,000 has been approved by the State Bond Commission, and nearly $3 million more could come via bonding in the next two years.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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