The Farmington Valley Trails Council (FVTC) is an awardee of a $2,500 grant from the Suffield Greater Together Community Fund. The Suffield Greater Together Community Fund is committed to supporting individuals and communities within the Greater Hartford region through capacity building, strategic learning and evaluation, community leadership, grant-making and investments and public policy, with the ultimate goal of advancing equity and creating positive change for those disproportionately impacted by disparities. The FVTC will use grant funds to maintain the bicycle repair station at the Phelps Road access area. The FVTC donated and maintains this bicycle repair station, which has suffered from vandalism and stolen tools. Repair stations are essential to ensure the safety of cyclists, as these stations provide them access to the tools they need to address a variety of bike problems, such as flat tires. The funds from this grant will support replacing tools and the vandalized pump, as well as future repairs and maintenance.
In addition, the FVTC will use the $2,500 grant to install a new bench along the trail. The benches along the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail (FHCT) serve as memorials, rest stops for weary travelers or places for leisurely visits. This bench will honor Catherine and Allen Ryan, two Suffield residents and active community members. Catherine Ryan was a registered nurse dedicated to serving with the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance. Passionate about contributing to creating a thriving community, Allen Ryan was involved with the water pollution control authority and the FVTC. He also played an integral role in converting the Suffield portion of the FCHT for nearly a decade.
Any remaining funds will be dispersed to enhance other trail amenities at the Phelps Road parking area, such as kiosk repairs and graffiti removal.
Overall, these projects will benefit the community by ensuring that the FHCT remains safe, accessible and inclusive for all visitors. The FCHT has been recognized as a Community Millennium Trail under the federal Millennium Trails Initiatives due to the high value it provides to the communities it serves. Community members rely on miles of continuous biking and walking trails, passing through eleven towns that connect New Haven to Suffield for recreational activity and social gatherings. The FCHT is essential for community thriving as it provides a safe and picturesque environment for commuting, recreational activity and social gathering. Therefore, continued investment into supporting the maintenance and improvement of the FCHT is crucial for boosting utilization and meeting community needs.