HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — For six years, the City of Hartford has closed off a major asset to the public. But that could all change with help from the state.

Speaker of the House Matt Ritter joined by Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart Wednesday announced a $7-million plan to bring Batterson Park back to life.

The park is located in New Britain about 10 miles from Hartford. The property spans 500 acres, some of it is also in Farmington. Half is parkland and the rest is a 165-acre lake.

Speaker Ritter plans to bond $7-million through the State Bonding Commission. $250,000 would go to fix water quality and a big chunk of the money would be used to rehab the 1920s-era buildings, fire pits, and basketball courts.

Speaker Ritter: “We took an open space dedicated in 1920s to give families a chance without driving to the beach an hour and a half away to come, sit outside, swim, play basketball…That we let it get to this.”

Mayor Bronin: “As we battled our own fiscal crisis this was a priority that we couldn’t tackle alone.”

Mayor Stewart: “This is going to be an incredible resource to get families here enjoying the outdoors.”

The communities created a conservancy to oversee the project. They’ll come up with a plan of maintenance and operation.

The park was named after former Hartford Mayor Walter Batterson.