Wilton puts out call for volunteers for Townwide Cleanup Day, and other community news

Volunteers needed for cleanup day 

The Wilton Conservation Commission is looking for volunteers to join in the 2023 Townwide Cleanup Day. 

It will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 1, at the Town Green as volunteers of all ages join together to pick up litter along Wilton’s roadways and the banks of the Norwalk River.

“Townwide Cleanup Day is a great weekend service opportunity for individuals, families and groups, which work together to improve our town. I hope you will  join us.” First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice said in a statement.

Work gloves, garbage bags and dumpsters will be provided by the Wilton Conservation Commission and will be available at the gazebo starting at 9 a.m.

Wilton Hardware and Wilton Kiwanis donated items for the Townwide Cleanup Day raffle. To be eligible to enter the raffle, volunteers must collect a full garbage bag of litter and bring it the Town Green for disposal.

The winner will be drawn at noon April 1, and you must be present to win.

Pinocchio Pizza will provide each volunteer with a coupon for a free slice of cheese pizza. The event is held rain or shine.

For more information or to sign up, contact the Wilton Department of Environmental Affairs at 203-563-0180.

Wilton seeks feedback on budget  

In advance of its budget deliberations, the Board of Finance is asking residents to complete a survey to provide feedback on the proposed municipal budgets for the Fiscal Year 2024.

The plans include a proposed 4.5 percent increase in the Board of Education budget and 2.15 percent proposed increase in the Board of Selectmen budget; those plans would result in a 5.5 percent to 6 percent proposed increase in the mill rate.  

The survey is available by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/r/26J6BSR or can be downloaded at www.wiltonct.org/sites/g/files/vyhlif4046/f/uploads/wilton_town_mill_rate_survey_vpublic.pdf.  

Responses must be received by March 31.

Downloaded surveys can be dropped off at the drop box at Town Hall in the vestibule at the rear of building; at the Senior Center at Comstock Community Center; or near the circulation desk at the Wilton Library.  

Paper copies of the survey will be available at the drop box locations.

To learn more about the proposed budgets and to provide feedback, visit www.wiltonct.org/home/news/board-finance-encourages-residents-complete-fy-2024-budget-survey

Minks to Sinks makes $117K donation  

Members of Minks to Sinks presented Family & Children’s Agency with a check for the $117,000 that the organization raised at its tag sales for the Norwalk-based nonprofit in 2022.

“Minks to Sinks has become one of FCA’s largest fundraising initiatives and we are so grateful to the organization and their dedicated volunteers for their hard work and support,” said Robert F. Cashel, president & CEO of Family & Children’s Agency.

Minks to Sinks is a Wilton women-run group with more than 80 years of history. Each year, thousands of items are donated or consigned to the biannual epic tag sales held under a massive tent near the Wilton High School tennis courts. All proceeds are donated to FCA, a nonprofit human services organization serving children, families, adults, and seniors in Fairfield County.

“Presenting this check to FCA is the highlight of the year for us at Minks to Sinks,” Kim Healy, co-chair of the organization, said at the group's recent annual meeting. “Giving back to the community and knowing the funds are being used to do amazing, humanitarian work is one of the major benefits of being part of this rewarding organization.”

The next Minks to Sinks sale will be held May 6, May 7 and May 8. For more information, visit www.minkstosinks.org

Green event will focus on reusing items 

Wilton Go Green and the Trackside Teen Center will partner for Reuse Wilton, an event featuring reuse expert Alex Eaves.

This family-friendly event will offer activities and ideas on the small ways that reusing everyday items can make a meaningful impact on the community and the planet 

The event starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 25, at the Trackside Teen Center, 15 Station Road.

Reuse Wilton will offer practical, fun and simple ways the entire family can get involved in reducing their carbon footprint at home and in the community.

Getting into the habit of using less reduces the demand for natural resources and lessens the trash build-up and toxic pollutant emissions in landfills. Using products to their fullest extent minimizes waste, in turn saving energy, money and the planet. 

Living a lifestyle of reuse has been a passion for Massachusetts resident Alex Eaves since 2008. He is the owner of the reuse apparel brand STAY VOCAL and is director of the documentary "REUSE! Because You Can’t Recycle the Planet." 

Eaves’ 98-square foot tiny house will be on site and open for tours. It was converted from a 17-foot moving truck into a home using nearly all reused, repurposed and Dumpster materials. 

The “The Box Truck Film” will also be screened, showcasing the creative and at times comical ways the concept of the tiny house became a reality.

To register, visit www.flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/MTc0OTI4. 

The suggested donation is $5 per person or $20 per family. 

Friends of Norwalk River Valley elects new leader

At its February board of directors’ meeting, the Friends of the Norwalk River Valley Trail voted unanimously to elect Kate Throckmorton as interim president of the organization through 2023.

The outgoing president, Charlie Taney, took the role of first vice president, according to a statement from Andrea Gartner, executive director of the Norwalk River Valley Trail.

A nonprofit, the NRVT's mission is to build and maintain a 30 mile, ten-foot wide multiuse trail from Calf  Pasture Beach in Norwalk, passing through Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding, ending at Rogers Park in Danbury.

Throckmorton agreed in the interim to step back from her role as NRVT’s Wilton team leader.

A Wilton native, she has been an NRVT board member since 2020. With this leadership shift, Taney will pursue a replacement for board president as the organization is looks for more volunteers.

“It’s an amazing time to be involved with the NRVT as the trail will be growing rapidly over the next several years. If you are someone who knows our trail, loves our trail and you’re interested in being part of a legacy project, talk to me. There’s a place for you on our board,” Taney said.

Since 2012, the NRVT in partnership with the cities of Norwalk and Danbury and the towns of Wilton, Redding, and Ridgefield has applied for grants from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection in its Recreational Trails program and Local Transportation Capital Improvement Program to build more of the trail.  

With funding from the state and donor contributions, nearly 12 miles of the NRVT have been completed in Norwalk, Wilton and Redding. 

“I am very happy to step in a new leadership role for the NRVT and continue the NRVT mission. The trail is a fabulous asset for region, providing a safe multipurpose trail that will eventually provide connectivity along the Norwalk River Valley for all to enjoy the outdoors,"  Throckmorton said.

In the last three years, there has been progress in designing and building the planned 30-mile trail.

Sections in Norwalk, Wilton and Redding officially opened in early 2022. In October 2022, Connecticut Department of Transportation funding letters were received for the Ridgefield Ramble and continuation of the Wilton Loop North projects. When those Ridgefield and Wilton sections are finished, the total length completed of the NRVT will reach the halfway mark of 15 miles.

More recently, the Friends of the NRVT partnered with the Western Council of Governments in applying for a multimillion-dollar planning grant as part of a federal initiative under RAISE, or Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity. The program is administered through the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

“With funds like RAISE available, it is clear that the Norwalk River Valley Trail is an idea whose time has come. The notion that this trail could be completed in 10 years is not too far-out,” Taney said.  

The Friends of the NRVT Board meets monthly at the Comstock Community Center, Room 30, 180 School Road, Wilton. The next meeting is Wednesday, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

For more information, visit www.nrvt-trail.com. Interested volunteers should contact Charlie Taney directly at ctaney@nrvt-trail.com .