Riverwalk greenway path to be created soon
Published 4:07 pm, Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Avid walkers and cyclists could soon have a new path to enjoy along the Housatonic River in New Milford.
Work should begin late in this construction season on the Young's Field Riverwalk Greenway.
The walking and bike path would be funded by a $180,000 grant from the General Electric/Housatonic River Natural Resource Restoration settlement money.
The town has by grant terms until June 2015 to finish the project.
The settlement is part of a consent decree Connecticut signed with Massachusetts, General Electric Co., and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
GE accepted responsibility for cleaning polychlorinated biphenyls -- PCBs -- from the Housatonic River.
The Young's Field Riverwalk Greenway creates a half-mile greenway path north from Young's Field to Helen Marx Park.
"We're redeveloping the riverfront," said Mike Zarba, New Milford Public Works director, "stabilizing the bank and creating a bike path/walkway from the kayak park at Young's Field -- across from the tennis courts -- to Helen Marx Park."
The design plans are a work in progress but the trail bed will be either of permeable decorative asphalt or crushed stone, Zarba said.
A boardwalk would be installed through the wetlands portion along the Housatonic River.
Floating docks are planned near the existing kayak launch on the Housatonic River to help protect the embankments from foot traffic of anglers and others accessing the water's edge.
The existing parking area will be redesigned, pavement removed and replaced with a vegetation buffer.
"Our time frame was pushed back a bit waiting for the grant to come in and then flooding that changed the riverbank," said Mayor Pat Murphy. "We're having to do some redesigning of the original plan to accommodate the changes that occurred."
Murphy said making the greenway "accessible for broader use" is key in the design. The path will be handicap accessible, and both bicyclists and walkers will be able to use it.
The greenway installation is the second local use of grant money from the GE settlement.
Enhancements were made to Sega Meadows Park along the Housatonic River, along River Road north of Boardman Bridge, with a $75,217 grant.
Finishing touches are now underway by New Milford Parks & Recreation at Sega Meadows, which features natural trails, a bike/walking path and designated areas are for fishing and picnicking.