Multi-million dollar federal grant coming to The Bushnell in Hartford to help reopen after pandemic shutdown

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Bushnell in Hartford is getting some help reopening after a year shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal was at The Bushnell in Hartford Tuesday morning to announce the arts center has received a multi-million dollar federal grant. This comes as local legislators continue to fight for more funding to bring back entertainment to Connecticut.

The money is coming from the Shuttered Venue Operations Grant program. The funds will contribute to the reopening of The Bushnell.

“I have four children, I have a mortgage, I have car payments, I have food. So we were just, I was devastated. I’m still trying to just get by,” Michael Sullivan Jr. who heads carpentry at the Bushnell told News 8.

News of a nearly $6-million federal grant for the performing arts center has him hopeful of a full recovery for him, his coworkers, and arts in Hartford.

“My children are happy, I’m happy; I feel I can pay my bills. I don’t have to worry come October to pay my mortgage,” Sullivan said.

David Fay, The Bushnell president, said, “You can’t get over a pandemic with only private donors…This is going to go very far to heal the deepest of the wounds that we’re suffered this past year.”

Fay says Sen. Blumenthal and the state’s congressional delegation pushed for the funding.

“People who visit theaters eat a meal, they go shopping…So there’s an economic impact,” Sen. Blumenthal explained.

The funding comes on the heels of a proposed Bushnell South master plan for new residential and retail development that Sullivan hopes will help the Bushnell – and by extension Hartford – shine.

“Also helps not just the theater but the restaurants, the parking, all the other people that survive on this money,” Sullivan said.

The first event at the Bushnell will take place on Oct. 8 for a Myrian Hernandez concert.

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