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Urban walking trail on tap for downtown Rockville

http://www.journalinquirer.com/articles/2008/04/25/towns/vernon/doc4811ef0783f94865355352.txt
 
By Kym Soper
Journal Inquirer
Published: Friday, April 25, 2008 11:10 AM EDT
VERNON — An urban walking trail through the downtown Rockville section of town highlighting the area’s history and mills is now in the works with volunteers and town staff hoping to have trail blazers hiking the concrete paths this fall.

Think Boston’s Freedom Trail but without the tri-corner hats and a nod to the Industrial Revolution rather than the colonial rebellion against the British.


Parks and Recreation Director Bruce Dinnie says the new footpath, stretching from Saxony Mill on West Street to Roosevelt Mill on East Main, will add to the town’s more than 30 miles of hiking and biking trail system.

Dinnie says that town staff and volunteers have created a rough draft for the route and decided which areas to emphasize. They plan to erect cast aluminum, tabletop-type signs for each of the eight stops along the trail, with an engraved synopsis or short history on the location.

S. Ardis Abbott, local historian and Historical Society museum director, is working on the various narratives, and town staff are talking with property owners this week seeking permission to place the signs on their lots, Dinnie said.

“We’ll use a symbol, like the Fox Hill Tower to direct people along the trail, and when you get to a certain point, a sign would be there explaining the history,” Dinnie said.

For example, at stop number five at Central Park the sign might feature the Cogswell Fountain, Town Hall, the Civil War Museum, and the Citizen’s Block building, he said.

“The best case scenario is we can open this fall,” he added.

The trail, which runs along West Main Street, through downtown Rockville, and then along East Main Street, includes such stops as the Springville Mill, Ano-coil, the Florence Company, and Amerbelle mill.

Some of the stops, like the Saxony Mill, are listed on the National Historic Register of Places, while much of the hiking area travels through the downtown, also listed as a National Register Historic District.

The trail is being funded with a $27,840 state grant from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Costs for creation and maintenance of the towns trails systems, which includes Rails to Trails and the Tankerhoosen Greenway, are typically funded with grants of one sort or another, Ann Letendre, Friends of Hockanum River Linear Park member said.

Since its inception the small band of Vernon Green Volunteers has managed to obtain 27 grants totaling $730,000, Letendre said.

“That’s remarkable for a group of volunteers who work 20 to 30 hours a week on the trail system,” she said.

Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy and the Connecticut Greenways Council recently presented two awards to the town of Vernon and its various volunteers in recognition of the town’s dedication to development of its trail system.

“It’s one of our most valuable resources and anyone who has ever walked the trails in Vernon realizes how fortunate we are to have them,” Dinnie said.

 


 

There are several groups working toward improving the "Quality of Life" in the Rockville area.  

The Town of Vernon's Parks & Recreation Department has been extending the former train track right of way from the Bolton and Manchester lines into Downtown Rockville.

The historic trolley line has been extended from the center of Stafford and is now heading toward Rockville as a Bike Trail Bob White has been spearheading this.

George Arthur has been working to extend the Shenipsit Trail and Blue Trail toward Rockville from the south and heading toward Stafford.

The Vernon Historical Society with Ardis Abbott has created a walking historical trial in Downtown Rockville.

Ann Letendre has helped coordinate the Hockanum River Linear Park. A vast trial system that reached through many parts of Vernon.

The Town of Ellington has volunteers working on ways to connect to the existing Vernon system.

The Rockville Downtown Association has been negotiating to get access to the views of the incredible waterfall views near the former Amerbelle Mills complex.

The Town of Vernon has been completing the work necessary to allow the former Roosevelt Mills to become housing units which would value the access to the walking and biking trails in this area.

Several spurs of the rails and walking paths have been discussed over the years.  Further funding and a cooperative spirit among the different entities is all that now require to realize this dream!

Please click the various links below to get a visual of what is being accomplished to date. Contact information is also provided if volunteers would like to get involved.


To view Vernon's Rail System, click here: http://www.munic.state.ct.us/VERNON/parks.htm

To view the Stafford - Rockville Trolley Line, click here:  http://members.cox.net/profwhite/SRTrolley/


Bob White - Stafford - 684-4574

George Arthur - Vernon-871-0137

Doug Smith - 649-5678

Julie Gross - Ellington

Ann Letendre -Vernon Hockanum River Linear Park

Bruce Dinnie - 870-3520 - Director of Vernon Parks & Recreation Department

Thomas Joyce - 870-3667-Vernon Town Planner

Neil Pade - 870-3637-Assistant Planner/Economic Development Coordinator-Town of Vernon, CT

Bryan Flint - 875-1044


wpe1.jpg (57928 bytes)

Hockanum River Linear Park 



Trails6.jpg (47531 bytes)

overview from Grove St, E of Hale St. to the Church of the Nazarene driveway, .... to the Lake


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detail from the Church of the Nazarene drive, thru St Bernard's Cemetery, to CT Water Co. property - red shows probable trolley ROW, blue near the red shows possible detours


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detail of by-pass from Cemetery to CT Water Co property
St. Bernard's cemetery to Rte. 74 -start of Shenipsit Trail- CT Water Co.


Topo showing most likely path for Trolley (from the right) & steam rail spur (from the left)



 

SHENIPSIT TRAIL IN VERNON

 

Currently, the Shenipsit Trail in Vernon extends from Bolton Notch along the Rail Trail, into Valley Falls Park, into the Belding WMA, into property owned by the Tancanhoosen LLC, to the commuter lot at exit 67 for I-84. Permission has been obtained from the Tolland Agricultural Center to pass through to Rt. 30 (Hyde Ave).

 

Future plans are to extend across Rte 30 into the Northeast School property along the easterly boundary, then continue along the easterly boundary of the Church of the Nazarene, then through the St. Bernards Church cemetery, then across Rt. 74 into Connecticut Water Company land along the abandoned trolley track by Shenipsit Lake and joining the northern section of the trail at Grahaber Rd. in Tolland.

 

The Vernon Plan of Conservation and Development discusses the trail linkage in the third bulleted item on pg. 75 and shows the trail route on the Potential Open Space System map.

 

CONNECTICUT FOREST AND PARK ASSOCIATION

Middlefield, 16 Meriden Rd., Rockfall, CT 06481-2961

Executive Director, Adam R. Moore

 

The Connecticut Forest and Park Association is a private, non-profit organization dedicated since 1895 to conserving the land, trails, and natural resources of Connecticut. Currently it maintains 700 miles of blue-blazed trails in Connecticut. The Shenipsit Trail extends 41 miles from the Cobalt area of East Hampton north to within 3 miles of Massachusetts. All trails are maintained by volunteers and there are currently 100 Trail Managers. The trails are on privately owned land with permission of the land owners.

 

The Manager in Vernon is George T. Arthur, 79 Baker Rd., Vernon, CT 06066. Tele 860-871-0137. E-mail: trailsarthur2@comcast.net

CONNECTICUT LANDOWNER LIABILITY LAW

In 1971 the Connecticut State Legislature enacted a law protecting landowners from liability suits on hiking trails which are open to the public at no charge. The owner is not required to make the land safe, or to warn of dangers for this use. Further information is available upon request.

AGREEMENTS

 

Agreements may in the form of easements, simple written, or oral agreements. Typically, these agreements may be canceled by either party with 60 day notice.

 George T. Arthur
Shenipsit Trail Manager
May 18, 2005


Links

To view Vernon's Rail System, click here: http://www.munic.state.ct.us/VERNON/parks.htm

To view the Stafford - Rockville Trolley Line, click here:  http://members.cox.net/profwhite/SRTrolley/

Safe Routes To School-National Plan    http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferoutes/

Safe Routes to Schools--Boston MA    http://www.walkboston.org/projects/safe_routes.htm

Safe Routes to Schools--Marin County, CA    http://www.saferoutestoschools.org/

Craig Della Penna Trail Advocate Northampton, MA    http://www.craigdp.com/pages/14/index.htm

http://www.vhb.com/mhdGuide/mhd_GuideBook.asp

http://www.mhd.state.ma.us/default.asp?pgid=content/hearings/southwick_121405&sid=hearing

http://www.kvrbiketrailpassport.com/


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