NRVT will expand again beginning in June

Barely a month since the Norwalk River Valley Trail’s demonstration loop was opened in Wilton, organizers are set to extend the trail another half-mile beginning this month — from Raymond Lane to Sharp Hill Road.

At its Monday meeting, the Wilton Board of Selectmen voted to authorize a contract with Timber & Stone Trailbuilders for construction, though the Friends of the Norwalk River Valley Trail still need to raise $30,000 to fully fund the project — which will have a final price-tag of around $235,000, including “ancillary costs.”

The board took this step with the understanding an anonymous resident had offered to “underwrite” the $30,000 if the Friends were unable to raise the money by the time bills are due.

During the meeting, Patricia Sesto, director of Wilton’s Environmental Affairs department, said construction on the second Wilton section of the trail is thanks in large part to a $75,000 matching gift to the Friends of the Norwalk River Valley Trail from Cliff and Norma Fox, of Wilton.

Ms. Sesto also said Monday the excellent quality of the demonstration trail has inspired a number of generous donors to plan contributions for the project, which may one day run directly from Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk to Rogers Park in Danbury.

The construction of the next half-mile is expected to cost $235,000.

The only worry about the project expressed by the selectmen was voiced by Second Selectman Hal Clark.

“My only concern is that [Timber & Stone] is a small company,” he said. “We don’t know if they are going to be here in 10 years. But, having walked the trail a couple of times, I think they are doing things right.”

Corporate contribution

The selectmen also inquired about the trail organization’s outreach to Wilton’s corporate community, which may benefit from the extension of the handicap-accessible hiking trail.

Ms. Sesto said great strides had been made in connecting with the corporate community, and that the newly relocated Cannondale Sports Group was interested in being the trail’s “corporate champion.”

Other businesses, Ms. Sesto said, have not been as quick to come to the trail’s aid.

“Oddly enough we’re experiencing that it’s not so easy,” she said. “Corporations have people knocking on their door all the time.”

She also said she hopes to get property owners at 1020 Westport Road involved, as their  parking lot can be seen from the trail.