The approved Monday night an appropriation of $155,000 from the Capital Budget to help fund the Stamford Lights art project.
The project is supposed to be a lighting set up that would be both an art installation in-and-of itself, and could also be used to highlight other projects, according to the committee description.
The project has faced some opposition recently and was send back to committee for further review at least once [Agenda history, PDF] as some members of the board felt the project was an unnecessary money sink, with others touting the reputation Stamford could build off the back of the commuter-centric project.
$155,000 is coming from a grant to the city to help fund the project. Initially, the city believed it would have to match this grant, so it put out to bid a project the would cost an estimated combination of the two amounts—that is, the grant money plus an equal amount from the city budget, according to Board President Randall Skigen.
This money was already appropriated when the city discovered it didn't necessarily need the money they, themselves, put up, according to Skigen.
"I think a big part of [the opposition] started because there are people frustrated that areas of construction around the train station have not been completed yet," he said. "The money [for completion of construction projects] is a budgeted expense already, it's just taking more time than anyone else would like."
During the board meeting, the floor opened to discussion, and members took the opportunity to voice their distaste for the project once again, for many reasons. One of those reasons was purely visual.
"I find these kinds of displays as rather garish," said Board Member Patrick White. "From an aesthetic point of view, it detracts from the city. I don't think it adds anything."
Representative Mary Uva called for the grant match to come from art-oriented non-profits the city would be pairing with for the grant, a requirement to receive the funding.
"This is a match grant we've already received that, to clarify, did not require to be matched," she said. "I think our partners on the grant application [could fund some of the project.]"
The project, however, passed the Board of Representatives by a vote of 25-12.