The Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG) and the Friends of the Norwalk River Valley Trail (NRVT) are pleased to announce that USDOT has awarded $4,528,000 for the Western Connecticut Regional Trail Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning project through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program. WestCOG and the NRVT appreciate USDOT’s support in advanc ng this accessible multi-use trail and their contribution which will fund 80% of the project cost ($5,660,000).
The project will complete planning and engineering work for numerous sections of an approximately 55-mile multi-use trail between Norwalk, Wilton, Redding, Ridgefield, Danbury, Brookfield, and New Milford. Once complete, this will connect the Norwalk River Valley Trail to the Still River Greenway and the New Milford River Trail.
The trail system will connect urban and rural areas, shorelands and forest, and enable pedestrian and bicycle transportation to parks, schools, and community centers. The project will serve as a major catalyst for economic development in Western Connecticut, facilitating tourism and connecting underserved communities to employment opportunities. WestCOG and Friends of the NRVT will convene a working group of municipal representatives and other stakeholders to guide the development of the project.
Francis Pickering, Executive Director of WestCOG said “This project will decisively accelerate the completion of the Norwalk River Valley and Still River Trails and catapult forward the vision of economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable multi-use trail running the length of Western New England – from Long Island Sound to Litchfield County and north.”
Andrea Gartner, Executive Director for the Norwalk River Valley Trail said “We are so grateful to the US Department of Transportation for recognizing the transformative nature of this project and providing 80% of the funding for the final design. The possibilities of a fully completed Norwalk River Valley Trail are awesomely inspiring: bike to Danbury and train back to Norwalk; run a full marathon and have dinner in Ridgefield; explore the beauty of the Connecticut hills, the river, and placid points all along the NRVT; leave your car behind and commute to work. With this award, we are on our way to realizing that vision.”
Senator Blumenthal said “This more than $4.5 million is a huge win for the Norwalk River Valley Trail—a real gem in Fairfield County. Every day dozens of residents use this trail to walk, ride bikes, and enjoy nature. With this funding, the Western Connecticut Council of Governments will be able to build more miles of trail from Norwalk to New Milford for families to enjoy. I am so pleased to see this investment in outdoor recreation and transportation infrastructure in Connecticut.”
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes said “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the expanded RAISE Grant Program continues to positively impact the Fifth District. Today, I join WestCOG in celebrating over 50 miles of trail throughout Danbury, Brookfield and New Milford thanks to $4 million in RAISE Grant funding,” said Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (CT-05). “I helped advocate for this project to inspire outdoor leisure and recreation and spur economic development in the region. These funds will not only increase the development of infrastructure, but will also cultivate a space for community engagement, expand tourism opportunities and help connect underserved communities to jobs.”
“I’m overjoyed that I was able to support WestCOG and the Norwalk River Valley Trail in securing $4.5 million in federal funding so that they can complete work on what will be the longest bicycle and pedestrian trail in Fairfield County,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “More than 30 miles running through the heart of Southwest Connecticut, this trail provides a path for families to walk along the Norwalk River, hikers the chance to climb Connecticut hills, and commuters a way to bike to work safely and conveniently. This project will not only connect our cities and towns, but also encourage the good physical and mental health benefits that come with spending time in nature.”