$300,000 award brings the Norwalk River Valley Trail to Redding. Will Ridgefield be next?
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, “I applaud 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 Redding Mile, located in the rolling woodlands between Pickett’s Ridge Road and Fire Hill Road, can now be constructed in 2019.
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 total cost for the Redding Mile. As a matching grant program, the RTG requires the recipient to raise the balance. Just over $55,000 has been raised, leaving a $35,000 gap.
Efforts in Ridgefield are focused on constructing an adjoining 1.5-mile section in Ridgefield - dubbed the “Ridgefield Ramble” - by the end of 2020. The steering committee has been concentrating its efforts in Ridgefield on raising awareness and fund raising. Presently, the committee is actively seeking donations to fund the trail design documentation and permitting. This has been key in both Wilton and Redding to access grants and other funding sources.
“The trail design is incredibly important.” Kitsey Snow, volunteer with the effort stated, “It enables us to show potential funders what the vision is and is necessary to seek local and state permits. It will be fabulous to have the Ridgefield Ramble connect with the Redding Mile – it will give a solid 2.5-mile section of the trail for our communities to enjoy.”
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 NRVT’s steering committee has set its priorities to get this asset two the northern towns, too.
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.