Letter: Streetscape project is a unique opportunity

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To the editor,

The Beacon Falls streetscape project is the culmination of over 10 years of work to create an attractive and inviting Main Street from the former Route 8 highway. The project will connect Volunteer and Veterans’ Parks and the newly refurbished Depot Street Bridge with a new walkway overlooking the Naugatuck River.

Just like the Farmington Canal Trail in Cheshire and the Naugatuck River Greenway in Derby, the completed walkway will attract people to town and bring more foot traffic to local businesses. It also contributes to the quality of life for Beacon Falls residents by creating an attractive in-town path for walking and bicycling.

The streetscape project is an important link in the Naugatuck River Greenway, an 11-municipality effort to reconnect with the Naugatuck River and build a 44-mile walking and bicycling trail from Torrington to Derby. Communities up and down the river are working on their portions of the greenway trail, but Beacon Falls will have the distinction of having one of the first completed sections.

In 2010, the Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley, working with municipalities along the Naugatuck River, completed a Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study to identify the best options for locating the greenway within the region, which extends from Beacon Falls to Thomaston.

During the last funding go-around, Beacon Falls was one of only two municipalities in the 13-town region to receive a federal transportation enhancement grant, which pays for most of the cost of the project. The state has recently invested additional money in the project to ensure its completion. The town needs to provide a required 20 percent match for the added money. If Beacon Falls passes up this grant, it may not have a second chance.

I encourage Beacon Falls to pursue this unique opportunity to realize its vision for a welcoming and economically vibrant Main Street.

Peter Dorpalen

Executive Director

Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley