by Charlie Taney
$300,000 awarded to Redding to construct its first section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail
Following a highly competitive round of grant applications, the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) has been awarded $300,000 to construct the Redding Mile.
Construction of this section of the 5-town trail will be the first section in Redding. The grant, awarded from the Recreational Trails Grant program and administered by the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP), marks the third grant awarded to the NRVT.
“It’s very exciting to see the Norwalk River Valley Trail coming to Redding” stated First Selectwoman Julia Pemberton, “Iapplaud the hard work of the trail’s steering committee and our Redding residents.” A shovel-ready trail design, community support, and successful fundraising, supported a high ranking of the application, which led to the award.
The NRVT was one of 74 applicants competing for a portion of the $3,000,000 available. In the end, 20 projects were selected to receive grants. The $300,000 is only a portion of the $390,000 projected cost for the Redding Mile. As a matching grant program, the RTG requires the recipient to raise the balance. To date, $58,000 has been raised, leaving a $32,000 gap.
President of the NRVT Patricia Sesto stated, “Surely $32,000 is a notable sum. However, the Redding community has been so generous and now that we have this grant, I am confident that generosity and this opportunity will encourage people and businesses to step up.”
Stuart Green, NRVT town-leader for Redding, added, “The Mile will be a great addition to our town. Once this section is built, I know our community will be eager for connections south to Ridgefield and north to Danbury.”
Sections already built in Wilton and Norwalk have been touted as leading community assets, with a trail census in Wilton documenting up to six thousand users a month.
The Redding Mile, located in the rolling woodlands between Pickett’s Ridge Road and Fire Hill Road, will be constructed in 2019. Ridgefield is hopeful to share in similar success and build an adjoining 1.5-mile section to the south in 2020.
The NRVT is a 10-foot wide, multi-use, stone dust trail, which is also ADA compliant. Green stated; “Even given our well known trail system the NRVT is an amenity unlike anything we have in Redding. The wide, smooth surface makes this trail attractive for biking, running, and simply strolling for both the young and old.”
The overall plan for the Norwalk River Valley Trail is to construct a thirty-mile trail, connecting Rogers Park in Danbury to Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, passing through Redding, Ridgefield, and Wilton. To date, approximately eight miles have been completed in Norwalk and Wilton
Tax deductible donations to close the gap can be made through the trail’s website, NRVT-Trail.com. Questions can be directed to Executive Director, Charlie Taney at ctaney@NRVT-trail.com.