December 10, 2013 10:34AM
By Jesse Buchanan
SOUTHINGTON – The Town Council voted unanimously Monday to join Plainville in hiring an engineering firm to design the rails to trails project running from Southington to the Farmington town line.
The work, to be performed by VHC Consultants, will cost each town about $8,000. The state bears 80 percent of the $160,000 cost with the Farmington Canal Rail to Trail Association paying another 10 percent.
Work on unfinished trail sections is several years out and the approved design work is only about a third of what’s needed for building to begin.
Plainville Town Manager Robert Lee said the consultants would help determine how to turn unused rail lines into trails from Southington to Plainville’s northern border.
“This proposal would settle on exactly where it would go,” he said. “This would map it out and design what it would look like.”
The contract must be approved by the Plainville Town Council, which meets later this month. Money would also need to be allocated for the project.
In Southington, the trail is competed from the Cheshire town line to Hart Street near Curtiss Street. The portion from Hart Street to Lazy Lane will be completed by Solvents Recovery Servic,e according to a negotiated agreement between the company and the town.
Southington Town Manager Garry Brumback said the company is working to clean up property near the proposed trail.
The difficulty in finishing the trail’s Southington portion is buying the land, according to Brumback.
In addition to the approved design work, Brumback said he hopes the two towns will join together on other aspects of the rails to trails project.
“There’s always a benefit to do things collaboratively,” he said.
Southington and Plainville also join together on a regional health district.