Plainville trail backers tout positive impact

Published on Tuesday, 26 December 2017 22:34
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

PLAINVILLE - Tim Malone, Theresa Carr and Mark Jewell of the Farmington Heritage Canal Gap Closure Study recently made another presentation at a public meeting on issues surrounding the proposed trail.

Malone addressed some frequently raised concerns. He said that, according to research on trails, vandalism and crime decreased 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.”

Malone said that environmental impacts will be minimized as much as possible, but that Plainville has many flood plain areas.

According to Malone, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection was contacted and did not find serious concerns. The Army Corps of Engineers also had no major flooding concerns, he said.

The historical mule haul trail, Malone said, could be enhanced by the trail.

“The trail is not in its historic shape right now,” he said. “Originally there were no trees on the path and much of it has been destroyed over time. This project could allow us to help preserve it. We have also spoken with the State Historic Preservation Office and they have no major concerns.”

Malone said traffic would likely increase only on weekends. There may be some property impacts, but they have tried to minimize these and said town officials would work with residents.

A draft final report will likely be presented in February.

Bruce Donald, chairman of the Connecticut Greenway Council, said having a trail pass through will bring “dramatic changes” to town.

He called trails “community builders” and “self-policing.”

Police Chief Matt Catania said that 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.”

Catania encouraged people to reach out to him for a “more robust conversation.”

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Plainville on Tuesday, 26 December 2017 22:34. Updated: Tuesday, 26 December 2017 22:37.