The Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) has reached a major fundraising milestone for the WilWalk section of the trail. With the help of many donors, the Friends of the NRVT (the 501c3 that oversees trail development) recently surpassed the $274,000 goal necessary to release a $1.3 million CT Department of Environmental and Energy Protection construction grant. With these funds now in place, vendor contracting and construction can begin. Officials anticipate a start date at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

The Friends of the NRVT expressed appreciation to several people and businesses that supported the fundraising campaign, including R.J. Aley Building Contractor, Athletic Brewing Company, Canine Company, CBET Foundation, City of Norwalk, Eldco Development, LLC, Christina and Woodson Duncan, Pat Fahey, Josie and Trevien Goldman, Newman’s Own Foundation, Outdoor Sports Center, Betsy and Bill Raftery, Santa Energy /Servco Oil and Propane, Sustainable CT Community Fund, and Jennifer Toll. Additionally, 15 other generous donors contributed to this success.

“Completing WilWalk funding is a major accomplishment for Wilton, the City of Norwalk and the NRVT. We are so very grateful to everyone who donated funds both large and small. It will be very exciting to see the construction begin late winter 2021,” said Beth Merrill, NRVT executive director.

WilWalk (standing for Wilton and Norwalk) is the portion of the NRVT connecting Norwalk’s Broad St. along the Norwalk River, over open space corridors, rising up the hill for a vista overlooking the railroad and river to Kent Rd. (Wilton), and returning again to follow the river to Wolfpit Rd. in Wilton. There it connects to the NRVT Wilton loop heading an additional 2.2 miles north. The initial construction of WilWalk will be between Old Belden Hill Rd. in Norwalk and Kent Rd. in Wilton as well as south in Wilton from Wolfpit Rd. to the Quarry Pond, adding an extra 1.2 miles to the NRVT.

During the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, the NRVT had trail use spike by over 260%. The NRVT has eight miles of completed trail and 22 more miles to build to finish the 30-mile, multi-use, handicap accessible, soft surface trail running from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, through Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding, terminating at Rogers Park in Danbury.