The committee behind the Norwalk River Valley Trail has set some lofty goals for 2016. Officials say that 2015 was successful enough to hope for just as ambitious a year to follow. According to a press release sent out by the NRVT committee, they credit the past year’s successes to “the support and generosity of our local communities [which] allowed us to make significant strides toward achieving our long-term vision.”
According to the release the goals they’ve set for each town involved in the project include:
2016 Objectives — Wilton
- East-Side Loop: Building on the construction of an additional half-mile of east-side Loop in 2015, the hope is to extend the trail in 2016 up to Skunk Ln.. The project involves a 300-foot boardwalk across wetlands, and a half-mile of new trail. The goal is to begin work on the boardwalk over the winter. “The community has given generously to the NRVT – from major donations to gifts from children – and we hope that this spirit will raise the $350,000 needed to extend the trail to Skunk Ln.. A supporter has already made a challenge grant of $55,000 to stimulate further contributions,” the release states.An additional, discrete project on the east side is construction of a small trailhead parking lot on Autumn Ridge Dr., where residents have “patiently tolerated” the street parking caused by the NRVT’s popularity. The lot will be an NRVT-Town of Wilton partnership, and may be started this winter.
- West-Side Loop: Organizers aim to connect the east-side trailhead on Rte. 7 to Wilton Center via blazed sidewalks and bike lanes/shared road along Wolfpit Rd., Horseshoe Rd. (west of the pond), and River Rd.. The project will involve building 600 ft. of trail along the wooded south side of Horseshoe Pond. This trail will be another NRVT-Town partnership, and may be started this winter. In Wilton Center, it is planned to route the NRVT through scenic Schenck’s Island.
2016 Objectives – Norwalk
- Grist Mill Rd., Norwalk, to Wolfpit Rd., Wilton: The State has offered a $1.2 million grant toward construction of this two-town section, funds that may not be transferred to other NRVT projects. The NRVT will need to match 20-percent of the grant. The likelihood of having to cross the Metro-North tracks on this section may present an engineering challenge. The next step toward realizing this golden opportunity to link the Norwalk and Wilton trails is for the City of Norwalk and Town of Wilton to define how they will work together to meet the terms of the grant.
- The “Missing Link”: Officials will continue to advocate for early construction of trail to link the two existing stretches of NRVT in Norwalk. Filling this “Missing Link” between Union Square and New Canaan Ave. will create 2.5 miles of trail from the Maritime Aquarium to Broad Street. Publically funded design and survey work is underway, and a public review of plans is expected in the spring.
2016 Objectives – Redding
The Redding volunteers are targeting construction of a one-mile trail between Picketts Ridge and Fire Hill Rds.. Plans for the trail were presented to the Redding Board of Selectmen in October, and were well received. Officials are hoping to raise the $264,000 needed to build the trail and firm up permit construction plans as soon as possible.
According to NRVT officials, they appreciate the past financial support they’ve received and hope that that can continue to be as successful in that arena.
“As we set these goals for 2016, we recognize that our ambition is only possible because of the support we have received in recent years. We thank the individuals, foundations, community organizations, and corporations that have enabled us to come as far as we have in building the trail, and with it priceless recreational opportunities for our communities. Our vision remains to build 38 miles of multi-purpose trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury.
Anyone interested in contributing to the NRVT, tax-deductible contributions may be sent to “The Friends of the NRVT,” P.O. Box 174, Georgetown, CT 06829, or made via the Donate button on the NRVT website.