A Norwalk based non-profit servicing individuals with disabilities has received 14 brand new replacement vans, thanks to a monetary state grant.
"They're going to be much more fuel efficient then the vans we replaced and we're hoping with new vans, our maintenance costs will go down."
The Nonprofit Grant Award provides STAR Inc. with $342,600 to replace 14 of its 38 vehicles with new vans, used to transport people with disabilities to and from their daily activities.
"They're on the road almost every day, 24/7. We transport about 200 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to and from their day programs to all their volunteer activities to their jobs, to doctors appointments," said STAR Inc. executive director Katie Banzhaf.
STAR was established in 1952 by parents and now provides services to nearly 700 people with disabilities in Norwalk, Weston, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton and Westport.
"A non-profit like this would find it very difficult to order these amount of vans on their own with the kind of fundraising they would need so the state is able to help on this end and I think it's a good thing for all of us," said Sen. Bob Duff.
"It's also a tangible demonstration of money well spent in the community that is going to really help this folks a lot," said State Rep. Chris Perone.
The 12 Honda Odyssey LX vehicles purchased from Honda of Westport, seat seven passengers, and the two others, yet to be delivered will seat 12.
"They have airbags all over the vehicle, front and rear and also have back-up cameras, which in this environment come very useful," said Honda of Westport President Evin Perkins.