NEW MILFORD — The Town Council unanimously agreed Monday to spend $350,000 for improvements to a walking trail next to the Housatonic River.

The Public Works Department requested the money so they could build and beautify the trail area from Bridge Street to Patriots Way while they beautify the waterfront with a $180,000 federal grant.

The project will now be a much more attractive town amenity, with paved trails, plants, picnic tables, bike racks and fishing docks, said Public Works Director Michael Zarba.

Work will start soon, Zarba said, and should be done by spring.

The department was already working on the waterfront because of the Dec. 31 deadline for environmental riverside cleanup and trail construction stipulated in the federal grant.

With the extra $350,000, the department is “getting a $500,000 project for $350,000,” Zarba has said.

Before the Town Council voted to support the appropriation, Tom O’Brien, chairman of the New Milford Bikes and Trails Committee, told the council how beneficial similar projects have been in other towns.

“Whatever money you spend on this will be returned ten-fold,” O’Brien said.

The 1,200-foot walkway in this project will also benefit a town-connecting 13-mile trail the committee has been working on for years, O’Brien added.

blytton@hearstmediact.com; 203-731-3411; @bglytton