The town of Wilton is scheduled to break ground on a demonstration section of the Norwalk River Valley Trail on Danbury Road on November 7.
The construction will start on the half-mile trail segment from Danbury Road to Raymond Lane on Gaylord Drive South. This will be the first part of the town's eight-mile Wilton Center Loop, a trail that will wrap around the center of town.
The Norwalk River Valley Trail that is currently proposed will be 38-miles, and include multi-use trails that will go from Norwalk's Calf Pasture Beach to Rogers Park in Danbury. The trail will follow Route 7 from Norwalk to Danbury Road in Wilton, where it will then split off into two directions before coming back together.
The demonstration section of the trail will be completed within six to eight weeks after construction begins. The purpose of creating the demonstration area is to help with fundraising efforts to support the creation of the rest of the trail.
Its demonstration section is expected to be completed within six to eight weeks of the start of its construction, Sesto said.
“We have done a really strong job noticing the abutting neighborhoods,” said Sesto.
The town has held workshops with homeowners living beside the proposed trail, and the majority of them seemed supportive of the project, according to Sesto.
The four-mile west side of the loop with travel from Danbury Road up Wolfpit Road, down River Road, through Wilton Center, past the Wilton Train Station and Merwin Meadows and connect with the east side near Allens Meadows Park.
The loop’s east side will be built over four miles with a public-private partnership between the townl and the state’s Department of Transportation.
Portions of the trail will utilize existing roadways and sidewalks on streets, Sesto said.
“This is pretty exciting, this is an important milestone,” said First Selectman Bill Brennan at the selectmen’s meeting.
The first piece of the east side will be paid for through private donations and grants, Sesto said.
A 2,000-foot-long, 10-foot-wide boardwalk will be built through otherwise unwalkable woods, Sesto said.
She said nearly $300,000 has been raised so far, and that Friends of NRVT hopes to reach $500,000 by Thanksgiving.
“The community members have really been stepping up some very generous support for us,” said Sesto.
Selectman Hal Clark said at the meeting that the trail will be an amenity to the town.
He said itl will travel past many of Wilton’s corporate offices, which will be beneficial to workers and make the municipality appear more desirable for companies.
Clark added that people who enter the trail will think they are deep inside a forest away from society.
“They’re going to suddenly feel like their 250 miles away from New York City.
Sesto said schools like Wilton High School will also be capable of conducting science lessons on the trail to enhance classes.
According to Brennan, visitors to the trail will be able to walk, ride their bikes or even ride horses on it if interested.
“We think it’s really important to get a demonstration section on the ground not only for Wilton and our own fundraising program, but for the NRVT as a whole,” said Sesto.
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