Sunday, April 19, 2009

Naugatuck River Greenway Kick-Off

Waterbury Naugatuck River Greenway Public Kick-Off and Visioning Meeting
Thursday, April 30, 6-8 p.m. at Kennedy High School

This is something I am very excited about. For years I've been driving all the way over to Cheshire in order to go for a good, safe-from-cars, bicycle ride or to attempt to use my rollerblades. It would be fantastic if we could build a greenway here in Waterbury. Potentially, it could eventually run from Torrington to Derby.

The Farmington Canal Linear Park in Cheshire has been open for several years and keeps getting longer. It's currently a little over 10 miles in length, most of which is flat, and has mile markers set up at regular intervals, making it perfect for cyclists, bladers and joggers. It's also good for families, the elderly, and dog walkers--anyone who wants to get outside and enjoy nature.

The greenway in Cheshire--the proposed Waterbury greenway would have the advantage of the Naugatuck River for kayakers and canoers.

Here in Waterbury, a study is underway to determine a feasible route for the greenway and receive public input on the route and the vision of the public for the greenway. The citizen-based Greenway Advisory Committee has been working on the plans, and there is funding to perform a study that will evaluate the riverfront and choose a route for the greenway. There is also a $4 million federal grant to be used for greenway design and construction (so it's not a pipe dream, this will happen!).

The meeting on April 30 is an opportunity for all of us to provide our input and ideas about the greenway, as well as to learn more about the project.

From the promotional flyer:
What is a Greenway?
Greenways are designed to create connected networks of open space that also include more traditional parks and natural areas. This combination of greenways, parks and open spaces offer a powerful strategy for a majestic, scenic route along the river. In addition, greenways fulfill a vital need as links to places where there are no sidewalks for pedestrians or streets safe for cycling. Greenways add to our transportation choices, create places for pedestrians, cyclists, bladers, etc., provide recreation opportunities, link neighborhoods, and open up access to the river for sporting and enjoyment.

Why should we have a greenway along the Naugatuck River?
The Naugatuck River is Waterbury's primary natural resource. The Naugatuck River has been overlooked - especially when one considers the uniqueness and value of this resource in the heart of our city. Waterbury's Plan of Conservation and Development recognizes the Greenway as the principal component of an inter-connected open space plan with a multi-use recreational path that will run through Waterbury and connect to the greenways of other Valley cities and towns. The Greenway will serve as alternative "green" transportation, provide recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, improve the quality of life, increase property values adjoining the river, and retain and attract new businesses and residents.

Some related links:
Alta Planning & Design -- the company that has been chosen to assist with the project

Cheshire Greenway -- where I currently go when I want a good bicycle ride

Derby Greenway -- what the Waterbury greenway could eventually connect to

Officially Designated Connecticut Greenways

Waterbury Development Corporation

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