Wilton signs on to grant application for next Norwalk River Valley Trail phase

WILTON — The town has agreed to support and partner with the Norwalk River Valley Trail in its application for a LOTCIP grant to attain funds to finish the trail section from Skunk Lane north to Pimpewaug Road.

NRVT Executive Director Charlie Taney met with the town’s Board of Selectmen on Tuesday and reiterated the importance of bringing Wilton on as an ally in the process of acquiring a grant to finish the portion of the trail in town. Taney and his cohort will go before the Western Connecticut Council of Governments soon to pitch for the grant.

Town Engineer and Assistant Director of Public Works Frank Smeriglio has been working with Taney in the leadup to this project.

The town will continue its relationship with the engineering firm Stantec, who has been hired to do “preconstruction work,” according to Taney and Smeriglio. The Boston-based company has worked on Wilton High School’s Veterans Memorial Stadium and is currently conducting a feasability study on a possible indoor sports dome.

“As this application gets legs and is moving forward with the approval process for the grant,” it is “key that Stantec is involved,” Smeriglio told the selectmen.

The NRVT is a multi-use recreational trail that stems from the mouth of the Norwalk River in South Norwalk up to Danbury. The trail is still under construction. It’s first section opened 20 years ago.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said the relationship with the state and with Norwalk already exists and that financials are “already set up.” The town has partnered with the city of Norwalk during the WilWalk project, a 4.8 miles trail that, when completed, will run from Broad Street in Norwalk to Wolfpit Road in Wilton, thereby connecting the neighboring communities’ trails.

The selectmen were eager to enter into the next phase of this plan.

“It’s a great projeect,” Vanderslice said. “I have at least 10 letters of support that were sent to me personally.”

Selectwoman Deb McFadden said this project is in lockstep with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development.

Smeriglio said the next step is for WestCOG to review the application. Vanderslice is the current acting secretary of WestCOG, meaning she will have a say in the project’s next step at the regional level. If approved there, the application will be sent to the state.

Selectman Joshua Cole inquired about grant costs and contingencies. Smeriglio explained if the construction is slated to cost $2.3 million, the town is allowed an additional 10 percent for construction contingencies and another 10 percent for construction administration.

After having their questions answered by Taney and Smeriglio, the board voted unanimously to support the grant.

“It really ties to the strategic direction of the town,” selectman Ross Tartell said. “If you look at where we’re going and the types of amenities and things we are putting into place, this fits perfectly and only supports that move.”