CHESHIRE – Before the new section of the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail opens in Cheshire, the Record-Journal toured the new route – also known as the “missing link” – with Public Works Director George Noewatne.
“The town is very happy to be involved and to have the use of it,” Noewatne said.
The new trail will connect the existing linear trail, from West Main Street to Cornwall Avenue and is in addition to the north section, which starts just above Jarvis Street and runs to the Southington town line. The official opening of the new section is on on Sept. 9, at 12:30 p.m.
“It’s a major step forward in what we’re trying to do out on West Main Street,” said Jerry Sitko, Economic Development Director.
The completion of the new trail adds to several projects done over the years in the West Main Street area, including streetscape improvements and sidewalk extensions.
The new section, originally expected to open next month, is nearly a month ahead of schedule. Work began two years ago.
“The response has been very positive,” Noewatne said. “There’s a lot of folks that wanted it open immediately.”
The paved trail is two-thirds of a mile long and 12-feet wide, with two sections of boardwalk over protected wetlands that total 1,000 feet long.
A group of turkeys joined the tour Tuesday morning, crossing the new trail and scurrying back into the woods.
“You get to see some wildlife,” Noewatne said.
At the beginning of the trail are two butterfly gardens and a memorial garden in memory of Michaela Petit, who was killed with her mother and sister in a 2007 home invasion.
A two-stall full bathroom building is also at the beginning of the trail, along with a water fountain and bicycle repair station.
A picnic grove is located further down the route.
The entire project cost $4.4 million and was funded entirely by the state.
“It’s had great use,” Noewatne said. “You see folks out here everyday.”
More information can be found at http://www.cheshirect.org/