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Southampton Greenway in the News

Many of you are aware that the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail doesn’t end at the Massachusetts border. The trail continues into MA as the Southwick Rail Trail and into Westfield as the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail  where the completed section ends at the Westfield River. The rest of Westfield, and almost all of Southampton until just before the Easthampton town line remains to be completed. The trail is complete in Easthampton and Northampton, where it is called the Manhan Rail Trail.

The Friends of the Southampton Greenway reported on a recent public meeting on the initiative to close the gap in that town:

“On Wednesday November 15th engineers from Tighe & Bond led a Southampton Greenway information session and public forum at the Norris Elementary School. We were thrilled that more than 125 members of the community attended, and there was lots of enthusiasm for the project, along with questions and great suggestions.

“On Friday the 24th the Hampshire Gazette ran a long and very positive article about the event.  For those of you who didn’t see it, the full text [can be found here.]”

The ultimate goal of advocates is to have a fully developed rail-trail that goes from the shore of New Haven, CT into the center of Northampton, MA with a unified name. For more information on this effort, check out nhncg.org.

Canton Rt. 44 Corridor Public Meeting

The Town of Canton is holding a public meeting to discuss the goals, scope, and schedule of the U.S. 44 Corridor Study.  The meeting is open to all, and will be held in person and via Zoom.

When: Thursday, December 7, 2023, 6:00-7:30 PM
In-person location:  Canton Community Center, 40 Dyer Avenue, Canton, CT, Meeting Room F
Zoom link:  https://tinyurl.com/cantonmeeting

For more information on the study: https://crcog.org/rt44/

Notice of Trail Detour in Canton

The Town of Canton has posted the following notice of construction and a detour on a small section of the Farmington River Trail:

The 50 Old River Road Boat Ramp Construction Project behind the DPW Building will begin November 1, 2023 and continue through December 8, 2023. The gravel parking area will be closed for the duration of the project. A small section of the Farmington River Trail will be closed, with a temporary trail utilized in the gravel parking area during construction. Please be aware that the property to the north of the gravel lot is private property on both sides of the trail and cannot be used for parking. Thank you for your patience. Please call DPW at 860-693-7863 with any questions.

FVTC Hosts its 3rd Benefit Evening at American Flatbread in Canton

Thank you to all of our supporters for coming out to see us on Tuesday, July 25th as we held our FVTC Benefit Evening. It was great to see and talk to so many people. We want to give a big shout-out to all of the staff at American Flatbread for being so helpful and accommodating to everyone that came through the door.  Thanks as well to those who contributed raffle items and other giveaways, including:

  • Bicycle themed bookends & cookbook (Nourish) signed by and courtesy of Terry Walters, Avon, CT 
  • A Handle Bar bike bag, bicycle socks, and other bicycle themed items, FVTC long- and short- sleeved high visibility shirts, and bicycle jersey 
  • Thule Hitch Mount Bike Rack 
  • Gift certificates and other swag courtesy of Benidorm of Canton, Suburban Ski & Bike of Berlin, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Watch for Me CT, and Bicycle Express of Simsbury 
  • Passes and discs courtesy of Tower Ridge in Avon, and vegetable basket courtesy of George Hall Farm in Simsbury

All proceeds from this event will benefit the FVTC, its members, and all trail users.

The Farmington Valley Trails Council is a local non-profit and is an all-volunteer organization. We are always looking for board members and volunteers to assist with the many tasks that exist. The board meets monthly via Zoom and our meetings are open to the public. We encourage all to attend. 

Officers and board members in attendance included: Barbara Collins: President, Laura Russotto: Vice President, Tony Russotto: Treasurer, Norm Berg: Secretary, Bruce Donald: East Coast Greenway Alliance, Fran Gurtman: Bike Walk Avon, Tim Bowman: Bike Walk Canton, Ron Goralski: Bike Walk Farmington, Alan Blasenstein, Joy Himmelfarb, David Kinkead, Diana Moody, Dwight Weed and volunteer Sherry Dwyer 

If you are interested in finding out more about the FVTC, visit our website at fchtrail.org or send an email at info@fvgreenway.org. 

New Haven/Hamden Public Information Meeting

Several years ago a new raised crosswalk on the Farmington Canal Trail was installed at Hazel Street with a positive impact on public safety at this busy crossing for cyclists and pedestrians. We have been waiting several years for the installation of additional raised crossings for the at-grade intersections along the Trail in New Haven and southern Hamden.  The execution of this project has been complicated both by the pandemic and the fact that it is a joint New Haven/Hamden collaboration.

Hamden Town Engineer Stephen White has scheduled a virtual public meeting for the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail Raised Crossings Project. This will be a joint meeting with the City of New Haven as the project spans both Hamden and New Haven. The meeting date is July 13, 2023 at 6pm.

The Town of Hamden and City of New Haven are planning pedestrian and cyclist safety improvements. Improvements include the installation of raised crosswalks along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.

  • New Haven Locations: Munson, Division, Thompson, Ivy, Brewster, Bassett Streets and Shelton Ave
  • Hamden Locations: Goodrich, Alling, Dudley, Morse Streets and Hamden Park Dr

More information can be found at the Town of Hamden’s Engineering Department https://www.hamden.com/825/Farmington‐Canal‐Trail‐At‐Grade‐Crossing.

You are invited and encouraged to attend a Zoom Webinar/Meeting:

 THURSDAY, JULY 13, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Via Zoom Teleconference. Register in advance for this webinar: https://hamden.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PRth10z0TUa8pxymmGVYHA

Dial: 1-646-931-860

Webinar ID: 882 6376 0429

Residents, business owners, commuters and other interested individuals are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to discuss the design phase of this project.  Anyone interested in obtaining further information, providing input or requiring language assistance may do so by contacting Stephen White, Hamden Town Engineer, at (203) 287-7040 or swhite@hamden.com

Virtual Public Information Meeting

Members of the public are invited to
CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
VIRTUAL PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING
State Project No. 109-176 Phase 2 of Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (Route 72 to Northwest Drive)
Town of Plainville (Town)
July 20, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.
Register: 0109-0176 Plainville (ct.gov)

YouTube Livestream: https://portal.ct.gov/ctdotvpimarchive

A Question & Answer session will immediately follow the presentation.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide the community an opportunity to learn about the proposed project and allow an open discussion of any views and comments concerning the proposed improvements.

The purpose of the project is to construct a multi-use trail known as the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) through the Town of Plainville to close a 5-mile gap in the Connecticut section of trail. The Connecticut share of the FCHT consists of a 54-mile section connecting New Haven through Suffield, terminating at the Massachusetts border. The entirety of the Connecticut trail section is either complete, in construction, or approaching final design, excluding the remaining 5-mile gap in the Town of Plainville. The 5-mile gap is proposed to be closed in three (3) project phases. Phase 2 includes construction of two (2) miles of multi-use trail between Route 72 and Northwest Drive.

There are right-of-way impacts associated with the proposed improvements. Construction will require twelve (12) partial property acquisitions on both Town-owned and private properties. All acquired property will be transferred to the Town upon project completion and following a Property Letter with Acceptance.

Construction is anticipated to begin in Fall 2025, based on the availability of funding, acquisition of rights of way, and approval of permit(s). The estimated construction cost for this project is approximately $15.5 million. This project is anticipated to be undertaken with eighty percent (80%) Federal funds and twenty percent (20%) State funds.

Please register for the Virtual Public Information Meeting at 0109-0176 Plainville (ct.gov). Registration is required to participate.

Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to access the meeting.

Members of the public may submit comments and questions during the two-week public comment period following the meeting. Please direct comments and questions by August 4, 2023 to: DOTProject109-176@ct.gov or (860) 594-2020, or to Mr. Scott Bushee, Project Manager, at Scott.Bushee@ct.gov; (860) 594-2079. Please reference State Project No. 109-176 in your email or voicemail.

ACCESSIBILITY
This meeting will also be livestreamed on YouTube and closed captioning will be available. Non-English translation options will be available on Zoom and YouTube. The recording will also be available on CTDOT’s YouTube Virtual Public Information Meeting playlist: https://portal.ct.gov/ctdotvpimarchive

Persons with limited internet access may use the call-in number (877) 853-5257 and enter Meeting ID 880 4467 8717. Persons with limited internet access may also request that project information be mailed to them within one week by contacting Mr. William Hogan at William.Hogan@ct.gov or (860) 594-2575.

Persons with hearing and/or speech disabilities may dial 711 for Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS). Language assistance may be requested by contacting CTDOT’s Language Assistance Call Line (860) 594-2109. Requests should be made at least five business days prior to the meeting. Language assistance is provided at no cost to the public and efforts will be made to respond to timely requests for assistance.

The Town of Plainville has arranged for a virtual viewing opportunity of the meeting at the Plainville Public Library, or the meeting can be joined remotely on Zoom by individuals at their desired location.

 

Ryans’ Bench is Installed

The Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) is pleased to unveil a memorial bench in honor of Allen and Catherine Ryan, located along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FHCT) in Suffield just before the Massachusetts border. Passionate about contributing to creating a thriving community, Allen Ryan was a longstanding volunteer with the FVTC. He played an integral role in converting the Suffield portion of the FCHT for nearly a decade. Catherine Ryan was a registered nurse dedicated to serving with the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance. It is our great pleasure to honor these outstanding individuals.

We wish to thank Tilcon Connecticut (@TilconCT) for their generous donation of concrete, the Suffield Greater Together Community Fund (@SuffieldGTCF) for awarding the FVTC a grant for the installation of the bench, James Comee of Chet Comee and Sons for their work to prepare the ground for the concrete slab, and Suffield Department of Public Works for assembling, storing, and installing the bench.

This effort truly “took a village” and we are deeply grateful to everyone who helped make this happen.

 

Bruce Donald Has Been Honored by Governor Lamont

Bruce Donald, the long-serving past president of the Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC), has received a well-deserved honor from Governor Ned Lamont for his unwavering commitment to all things trail. Bruce’s remarkable dedication and tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on the trail community.

Bruce’s many. many trail-centric activities are enumerated on the Official Statement below which was read and presented to him on Friday, June 23 by State Representative Mike Demicco.

The Board of Directors of FVTC congratulates Bruce on his well-earned recognition. We couldn’t be prouder!

Construction Underway for Tariffville Connector

CT Insider has reported that construction began on the Tariffville Connector between the village of North Bloomfield (near Old St. Andrews church) and the village of Tariffville in Simsbury.  The connector will provide an off-road route for the first time between these two points, and is a key link on the East Coast Greenway between Hartford and Simsbury, as well as for local riders coming from West Hartford and Bloomfield.

Read the full article

Native Gardens along the Farmington Canal Trail

by Joanna deBear
Associate Director, Cheshire Pollinator Pathway

Have you noticed some new, beautiful gardens along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FCHT) in Cheshire? Those are thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers that were inspired to install native perennial gardens to support local wildlife. The group is known as the Cheshire Pollinator Pathway, and their mission is to create closely spaced native, straight-species food and habitat oases to support all pollinators such as butterflies and moths, bumblebees and solitary bees, birds, and other wildlife. The pollinator gardens installed along the FCHT were in response to the devastating decline of pollinator and bird populations in the past few years.

This local movement was inspired by Louise Washer from the Norwalk Watershed Association and Pollinator Pathway Northeast steering committee. She spoke to a group of land trusts, garden clubs, and community conservation advocates in and around Cheshire back in 2019 and motivated them into action! With their conservation friends at Southington Land Conservation Trust (Shari Guarino) and the Hamden Land Conservation Trust (Gail Cameron and Jim Sirch), the journey began. The Cheshire Pollinator Pathway was initially under the umbrella of Cheshire Land Trust but has since transitioned to Coalition for a Sustainable Cheshire (CSC).

The first garden at 487 North Brooksvale Road, along the FCHT, was designed by Connecticut’s own well-known landscape designer and native plant advocate Kathy Connolly. A core group of volunteers set to work smothering grass, killing invasives, and taking down dead ash trees to prepare the site. During that time, they installed a “Summer Splash” garden, a mix of brightly colored annuals and perennials, some native and some not. Users of the Canal Trail loved it! The perennial garden was completed in spite of COVID in the summer of 2021, thanks to the hard work of all-ages volunteers.

In early April 2022, they took over stewardship of the gardens on West Main St. adjacent to the Ball and Socket Arts complex and FCHT. In the three garden beds is a Petit Family Foundation memorial named after Michaela Petit, called “Michaela’s Garden,” planted with Michaela’s favorite annual, four o’clocks. The bed also has extensive native plantings including several varieties of milkweed that specifically support Monarch butterflies.

Their third garden (Cheshire Pollinator Pathway at Lock 12) is underway directly across from the original garden at 487 Brooksvale, adjacent to the parking area at the historic Lock 12 site. A successful fundraising event was held in May, 2022 to support the work involved in determining wetland areas for protection, clearing invasives with heavy machinery, and obtaining a plan and plants for installation of native trees, shrubs and perennials. The new garden will have an open view to Willow Brook as well. Currently they are working to smother invasives and have recently planted native shrubbery. The garden will be completed in early 2023.

The generous support of donors and hard work of volunteers has enabled the success of these gardens. Just listen to the happy hum and buzz of the pollinators and you will agree! The hope is that passers-by on the trail will take these lessons home to their gardens and find ways to support these fragile ecosystems.

In addition to the garden work, the Cheshire Pollinator Pathway under the CSC has been able to host educational talks at the Cheshire Public Library. They’ve held on-site workshops and have regular, weekly volunteer workdays in the gardens spring, summer and fall. Additionally, they send out a monthly newsletter with the goal to inform and raise awareness of pollinators and native plants. If you are interested, they are always looking for volunteers to plant, weed, water, work in outreach, and whatever else is needed! Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Contact them for more information at Cheshirepollinatorpathway@gmail.com.

 

Photos courtesy of Joy VanderLek

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