Bike trail to get its start in Sega Meadows
Imagine biking through meadows, a forest and an idyllic pond all within a mile of downtown New Milford.
It seems that dream is about to come true.
Fifty bike enthusiasts met Monday at the railroad station in downtown New Milford and learned part of Sega Meadows in the Boardman district of town is about to be transformed into just such a bike trail site.
New Milford Parks & Recreation will use a $75,000 grant from the Housatonic Recovery Act to grade the dirt maintenance road on the property, create a parking area and install kiosks, trash receptacles and benches.
A stone-dust road material will be laid on the roadbed to create a walking and non-motorized bike trail.
"We're piggybacking the New Milford River Trail bike project on the Sega Meadows reclamation," said Eleanor Covelli, Parks & Recreation assistant director.
"We're meeting with Public Works and the mayor's office in May," she added. "We expect to start work in the next month."
Mr. O'Brien apparently has the ear of town officials in support of the project -- Mayor Pat Murphy attended Monday's meeting.
"When an enthusiastic resident comes forward, government responds, doing what the people want," the mayor said. "We've included trails in the Plan of Conservation and Development. We think this is a great use for the Sega property."
For Mr. O'Brien, the Sega Meadows trail is but one leg in a New Milford River Trail that he envisions proceeding from Gaylordsville, along River Road, then through Sega Meadows, north on Boardman Road, into downtown and along Young's Field.
From there, the trail would follow along the Housatonic River to Lover's Leap.
"I've seen communities that have planned bike trails for 10 years and still not have one in place," Mr. O'Brien said. "Starting the New Milford River Trail in segments will build enthusiasm for the project."
With the repaving of Boardman Road and Housatonic Avenue this spring, signage to "Share the Road with Bikes" will be painted on the roadway.
Charles Tracy, of the National Park Service, attended Monday's meeting and encouraged New Milford's bike trail efforts to connect with the Housatonic Covered Bridge Trail now being planned from Kent to the Massachusetts border.
"A lot of Tom's (O'Brien) planning makes a lot of sense to me," Mr. Tracy said, "especially the emphasis on opening sections of the bike trail when possible."
A "destination" bike trail passing through towns has economic advantages as well as quality of life values, Mr. Tracy said.