Bike trail is born at Sega Meadows Park
Ceremonial groundbreaking marks the occasion in New Milford
Jake O'Brien, 13, figured the most appropriate way to travel to the July 20 ground-breaking ceremony for the Sega Meadows Park bike trail would be via his Trek mountain bike.
After all, his father, Tom O'Brien, has spearheaded the project in New Milford.
"I've been riding bikes pretty much all my life," said Jake, a Schaghticoke Middle School student. "I'm very excited about the trail."
"I ride all the time with my dad," he added, "and this will be one more ride we can take."
The trail will constitute a one-mile stretch of the Housatonic River Trail, designed to eventually run from Lover's Leap Bridge in the south of New Milford north to Gaylordsville.
A $75,000 grant from the Housatonic Recovery Act is paying for the reclamation of Sega Meadows Park, in the Boardman section of New Milford.
Kiosks, benches and hiking trails, as well as the grading and conditioning of the dirt maintenance road on the town-owned property, will be achieved with the grant money.
Gravel material will be laid on the roadbed to create a path for walking and non-motorized biking.
Mr. Calhoun said he is glad to see the bike path, since the property has sat mostly unused since the town purchased it in the mid-1990s.
"It's passive activity, and we'll be able to keep the property much as it is," Mr. Calhoun said. "About two years ago, we reached a lease agreement with CL&P and were able to put the parking lot in and partially clear the access road."
Eagle Scout Cody Ferlow, of New Milford, played a role in clearing brush off the old maintenance road, putting in trail signs and clearing an access area by the pond on the property for fishing.
"This is fantastic," said Ivan Shiffman, a member of the New Milford Recreation Association, an independent residents' group listing Mr. O'Brien among its advocates. "We pick a project or two every year to support. Tom's excitement and influence led us to put all of our fundraising activities into (the) river trail this year."
Mike Zarba, the director of New Milford Public Works, said upgrading the maintenance road at Sega Meadows is an exciting step in creating "the bike path I have long envisioned in the town."
Local musician Bob Brophy, of The Blue Yodels band, held an open jam fundraiser for the project Wednesday at Fast Eddie's Billiards Cafe on 46 Old State Road.
"My wife and I used to live in New York City," Mr. Brophy recalled. "Weekends, we'd put our bikes on the car and go to the Peekskills or Brewster and ride the trails."
"Part of those trips was spent eating at restaurants and shopping in bookstores in those towns," he said. "Downtown New Milford could get a lot of benefit from this trail."