By LISA CAPOBIANCO
The Town Council unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the town of Farmington regarding the new pavilion that will be built for the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail.
The pavilion will sit on Northwest Drive in Plainville. Under the memorandum, Farmington will design, bid, and construct the pavilion using state grant funds on Plainville and state-owned properties, said Town Manager Robert Lee during a Town Council meeting held last Monday. Farmington also will provide construction administration and inspection services for the project, as well as some maintenance for the trail, such as sweeping and line markings from Northwest Drive to the Plainville-Farmington border.
The project, which is part of Farmington’s plans to close the trail gap in Plainville, is expected to be completed next summer. Once completed, Plainville is responsible for the ownership and maintenance for the improvements located in town.
Covering a route of 84 miles long, the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail runs from New Haven to Northampton, Mass., and is known to be one of the most historic greenways in New England. But a nine-mile gap exists between Southington and Plainville.
Town Councilor Rosemary Morante, who spoke in favor of the project, said the new pavilion will complete “one important phase of this very exciting project.”
“It will be nice to have this phase completed and I look forward to the planning that will begin on the next phase,” said Morante. “It’s something I think will benefit the community for many years to come.”
Town Council Vice Chairperson Scott Saunders agreed.
“It’s about time,” said Saunder. “It has been worked on for a very long time. I’m glad to see it finally come to fruition.”
The Planning and Zoning Commission has determined that the proposed trail and pavilion is in conformance with the town’s Comprehensive Plan of Development. In addition, the Inlands/Wetlands Commission has determined that the proposed trail does not affect wetlands.
Town Council Chairperson Kathy Pugliese said a number of people have tried to figure out solutions to close the trail gap, as there are ongoing discussions with the Bicycle Friendly Committee and the state.
“There’s a lot of players involved, so as we move forward in the year, hopefully we’ll be getting more information about how we can make that connection and finalize this,” said Pugliese.
By LISA CAPOBIANCO