Wilton Kiwanis Club donates $5K to Norwalk River Valley Trail project

The Wilton Kiwanis Club presented a check for $5,000 for the completion of the Norwalk River Valley Trail in town.

The Wilton Kiwanis Club presented a check for $5,000 for the completion of the Norwalk River Valley Trail in town.

Contributed Photo

WILTON — The Kiwanis Club of Wilton voted unanimously at its latest meeting to donate $5,000 to the completion of the final stretch of the Norwalk River Valley Trail left in town.

Once the Wilton leg is finished, the project will be near its completion of a 20-year journey, as the first portion of the shared-use path was built in Norwalk in 2001.

Kiwanis member Bud Taylor said the club has been in contact with the Friends of NRVT for over a month about a possible donation. This week, all nine members of the Contributions Committee within the Kiwanis decided this effort was worth a donation.

“I think it's pretty important to finish that stretch. I am amazed at how many people use those trails. Everytime I drive by one of the entrances at the intersection of (Connecticut) Route 106 and Route 7, I see people coming out of the trail,” Taylor said.

He added that many members of the Kiwanis use the trails themselves. “They are beautiful,” he said.

The local service group, which is the oldest service organization in Wilton, donates thousands of dollars to various organizations a year, but said that this $5,000 donation will account for about 20 percent of what they typically average per year.

Taylor said the money is for whatever general use the project deems fit.

“It is for whatever they need it for. It could go for crushed gravel, to cut trees,” Taylor said. “It is up to them. We let them determine what the usage is.”

He said allowing the organization to deem the proper usage of the funds is typical for the Kiwanis.

Once the gap is closed and all of the segmented trails in Wilton are connected, the club would be open to providing a sum of money annually for the maintenance and upkeep of the town’s portion of the NRVT, Taylor said.

While looking to the future, though, Taylor admitted the Kiwanis are in search of more members.

In the “early 2000s or so,” he said, membership hovered around 150 members, which allowed for more donations and fundraising events. Now, the membership has dropped to roughly 80.

“The club is diminishing in size. Members are getting older, some move away,” Taylor said. “We can’t take on as many big projects.”

While current members of the club are aiming their focus at continued service to the community, Taylor said more members joining would only help their cause.

“We most definitely have to be more careful now in analyzing each donation (request) and ask, ‘is this good for the town?’” Taylor said. “Moving forward, we want to see more people join to help raise more money for possible future donations.”