The Merryall Center for the Arts in New Milford was among the beneficiaries last week as the State Bond Commission approved a variety of funding projects.

The commission voted, 6-2, to allocate $600,000 to help with conversion of the former police station in Danbury to a community health center and housing for senior citizens on the property.

The commission also approved $150,000 for renovations to the Merryall center and $250,000 for a Brookfield playground.

Al Bayers Jr., vice president of the Merryall center, said the $150,000 will allow much-needed repairs to its building, including a new roof and windows, to be completed.

Bond Commission member and Republican state Sen. Andrew Roraback, a Goshen lawmaker whose district also covers New Milford and Brookfield, voted against the projects in those towns and in Danbury, he said, because the state can't afford them right now.

"The state's fiscal situation is dire enough that it causes legislators like me to vote against projects in their own district," he explained.

"I don't take any delight in feeling that the only responsible decision is to say no," Sen. Roraback added, "and it's not political popular, but I just don't think the state is in a position to play Santa Claus right now."

Lawmakers will have to address a budget deficit estimated to be at least $3.5 billion when the legislative session begins next month.