Bond Commission approves funds for Bass Pro Shops in Bridgeport - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bond Commission approves funds for Bass Pro Shops in Bridgeport

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BRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) -

There have been big plans for Bridgeport's Harbor for years. Now something is happening as construction equipment in the city Friday was preparing the site for a Bass Pro Shop.

The sporting goods store is getting lots of money to come to Connecticut. The State Bond Commission unanimously approved $22 million Friday and is expected to say yes to $9 million more.

It's all part of a multi-million dollar development project to help bring businesses and jobs to Bridgeport, according to Mayor Bill Finch.

"A project of this scale and complexity requires a strong partnership between the public and private sector. With this vote, the state, city, and BLD (Bridgeport Landing Development LLC.) have demonstrated their collective commitment to bringing Steel Point to fruition," Finch said in a statement Friday.

However, some are criticizing what Bass Pro Shop is getting and said this is an outrageous use of taxpayer dollars for a store that sells guns that Connecticut lawmakers have banned.

"They need to comply with our laws and they are prepared to comply with our laws," said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. "Why would we punish someone who is willing to comply with our laws?"

The governor pointed out that Bass Pro Shop sells plenty of others things besides guns. Malloy said he is fine with the decision as long as they follow the laws.

In fact, two of the state's gun manufacturers are now following those new laws, Colt and Stag Arms. They can no longer sell certain guns in the state. Those guns are now banned because of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School and other mass shootings.

On Dec. 14, 20 first-graders and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook.

"If I had my preference and there was a different anchor to that center," said Ron Pinciaro, of Connecticut against Gun Violence. "I would prefer that."

Connecticut against Gun Violence said they are not against legal sales.

"We understand people have the right to have guns so I don't see any reason why we should be opposed to legitimate gun retailers," Pinciaro said.

Bass Pro Shop has to pay the money approved back with sales tax revenue. The store isn't expected to open until 2015.

The plan is to put a hotel and other businesses in that area.

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