After public concerns, town announces new route for trail

By LISA CAPOBIANCO

STAFF WRITER

The alternate route to close Plainville’s gap in the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail will not go through Tomasso Nature Park after all.

During a Town Council meeting last Monday, Town Manager Robert Lee announced that changes have been made to a 4.8-mile alignment, so it would not connect to the nature park. In July, over a dozen residents spoke out against the route, expressing concerns about the impact it would make on Tomasso Nature Park’s environment.

Residents also had safety concerns about the trail coming down Perron Road.

“We did find a preferred route that now does not go through Tomasso Nature Park, and does not go on Perron Road, south of Johnson Avenue,” said Lee, noting the large crowd of people that attended the council meeting last week.

Known as Alignment C, the route is 95 percent off-road, uses the public right of way where possible, and connects with downtown Plainville and Norton Park. The project’s Steering Committee recommended Alignment C as a preliminary preferred route on July 11, but nothing has been set in stone yet, said Lee.

The committee also recommended a preliminary preferred alignment that connects the trail to CTfastrak. Known as Alignment E, this “off-road” option is 4.5 miles and mainly relies on state-owned right of ways between Route 72 and Black Rock Avenue.

The public will have an opportunity to share input on the amended trail route during a workshop that is now planned for mid-October instead of mid-September.

“We have pushed back the public information session…in order to give us time to speak directly with some of the impacted people,” said Lee.

The Farmington Canal Heritage Trail is an 84-mile multi-use trail that stretches from New Haven to Northampton, Mass. But Plainville’s gap is the last one that is currently not under design or construction—due to an active rail line. For over a year now, the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) has been working on a study with other stakeholders to find possible routes that would connect the trail with Plainville, New Britain, Southington, and the CTfastrak station in New Britain through a world-class multi-use trail network.

For more information, visit www. gapclosurestudy.com/.