PLAINVILLE - The Town Council and state Rep. William Petit Jr., R-Plainville, honored PARC Director Erica Donovan on Monday.
Council Chairwoman Kathy Pugliese referred to Donovan as a “local hero and celebrity” with a “heart of gold.”
She recently passed up on a family trip to Disneyland that she earned from her work as a Thirty-One Gifts consultant, taking instead a $3,000 gift card. That money was used to buy toys at the Disney Store at Westfarms mall, which were then donated to the Marines’ Toys for Tots program, which gives gifts to families who can’t otherwise afford Christmas gifts.
This set off a chain reaction of giving.
“In recognition of her ‘pay it forward’ attitude, Disney matched her with another $3,000 donation,” said Pugliese. “Seeing what she had done, Lego also gave a $3,000 donation.”
“This all started as what I thought was a small gesture,” said Donovan. “I thank you for recognizing me and taking the time to do this. The biggest benefit is how much happiness and joy will be spread this season.”
Petit then presented a citation to Donovan on behalf of the General Assembly.
Also at Monday’s meeting, a group of fourth- and fifth-graders from Wheeler, Toffolon and Linden schools presented their winning fire safety poster contest drawings.
Fire Chief Larry Sutherland said the two grand prize winners will go on to compete in a state contest.
Later, Tim Malone, Theresa Carr and Mark Jewell of of the Farmington Heritage Canal Gap Closure Study did another presentation on the trail. Malone also addressed some frequently raised concerns from residents.
“We are grateful to have had 150 to 200 people come to our public meetings,” he said. “We’d be lucky to get that many for some regional projects.”
Malone said that, according to research on trails, vandalism and crime decreases near trails due to more eyes being on the area. Property values, he said, usually see “small to medium increases,” not decreases.
“If privacy is a concern, there are a number of things we can do during the design phase to mitigate them,” he said. “We can put up fences or natural barriers like trees and shrubs.”
The historical mule haul trail, Malone said, could likely be enhanced by the trail.
A draft final report will likely be presented at a date to be announced in February.
Bruce Donald, chairman of the Connecticut Greenway Council, said having a trail pass through will bring “dramatic changes” to the town.
He said trails are “community builders” and are “self-policing.”
Police Chief Matt Catania said he had ”extensive experience” with the trail in Simsbury, where he served for more than 20 years.
“I have traveled up and down trails on foot and in cruiser. I’m not saying that there aren’t a few incidents but these are not felony highways. The more good people that come to an area the less crimes there are. These are mostly athletes and people looking for recreation.”