PLAINVILLE - The Town Council has voted unanimously to approve the preferred alignment plan for closing the “Plainville gap” in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
The alignment was chosen by a steering committee and involved design firm VHB, the Capitol Region Council of Governments, town leaders and bicycle enthusiasts as well as feedback from public hearings.
Tim Malone of the Capitol Region Council of Governments said that some modifications had been made following a meeting at the Middle School of Plainville, which saw many comments from both trail supporters and detractors.
“I have never seen so many comments come in on a project both with concerns and in support,” he said. “We have made some changes in response to some of the comments and concerns we have received.”
Malone said that the portion of the trail to come through Pierce Street would see no changes to the eastern sidewalk line. It will be no closer to the trees or condo complex. This will prevent damage to the root systems.
Additionally, Malone said an alternate path for the trail will now be 200 feet east of the old historic tow path on Hollyberry Lane, which once ran alongside the Farmington Canal.
“It will either continue along the bank or go around the industrial park,” he said. “It will be determined during the design phase if this is a suitable option.”
Malone said approving the route will “get the ball rolling” on the design phase. “Shovels in the ground,” he said, is still “years off.”
The trail alignment would create a 5.3-mile bicycle path from Northwest Drive to Town Line Road that is 98 percent off-road. This would close the “Plainville Gap” in the East Coast Greenway, a network of connected trails throughout the region. State funding has been promised to support the project.
Former Councilors Quinn Christopher and Dan Carrier were also presented with town chairs for their service to the community. Carrier was sick and could not attend.
Councilor Chris Wazorko presented his sister, Quinn Christopher, with her chair.
“It was an honor serving with you and it was great having someone else who could bear the burden of responsibility for decisions our family members thought were good or not so good,” he said.
Christopher thanked the council for the recognition.
“I really enjoyed serving of the council and I thank those that supported me,” she said. “I learned a lot from my fellow council members.”
Council Chairman Kathy Pugliese noted that Christopher formerly served as a liaison to the library, Inland Wetland Commission and Parks and Recreation.
“Thank you for your service to your hometown and I wish you every bit of luck in the future,” said Pugliese.
Town Manager Robert E. Lee also announced that he will present his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018-19 at a special council meeting March 1. A public hearing will be held on the proposed budget March 8 and then work sessions will be held with the council. A public hearing on the budget revised by the council could be held April 2.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.