Ansonia Eyes River Walk Connection To Seymour

The City of Ansonia is receiving a $39,000 grant to figure out the best route to connect the city’s burgeoning river walk to Seymour.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced the grant in a prepared statement Tuesday. The money is part of $3 million in allocations approved by the state bonding commission.

“Comparatively speaking it ($39,000) doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but it’s kind of a vital grant because we want to take that next step,” said Sheila O’Malley, Ansonia’s economic development director and grant writer. “We want to see how we can connect with Seymour to the north.”

The Valley Indy recorded a short podcast with O’Malley Wednesday morning about the latest grant and the Ansonia River Walk. The podcast is made possible by ValleyGivesBack.org.

Click the play button below to listen.

Ansonia’s $39,000 grant is part of a larger effort in the region.

Towns along the Naugatuck River — from Shelton in the south to Torrington in the north — have been creating walking trails along the Naugatuck and Housatonic for years.

Collectively, the trails are known as the Naugatuck River Greenway. The Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments plays a key role in snagging grants for the effort.

Click this link to learn more.

The effort has been underwritten by money from the state and federal government under the philosophy that river walking trails are a way to complement restored water ways such as the Naugatuck River, once so polluted it caught fire.

The two main rivers of the Valley are no longer viewed as accessories to industry, but as vibrant recreational venues.

And the walking paths are popular.

Derby’s walking trail stretching from downtown to Division Street on the Ansonia border was used 831 times a day in 2017, according to the Connecticut Trail Census.

Ansonia’s river walk stretches from Division Street to a new walking bridge on Pershing Drive.

The city already has grant money on hand extend the river walk by adding a loop that will connect the new bridge to land next to the Target shopping center. That work is in the final engineering design phase and is expected to go out to bid in the spring, O’Malley said.

Now the city will use the $39,000 from the state to detail how and why the trail will extend along the Naugatuck River to Seymour, where another trail is under construction. The city will have to hire an engineering company to author the study.

Some Valley Indy Facebook readers figuratively rolled their eyes at the notion money was being used for a “study.”

But O’Malley said it’s part of the process to acquire grant money.

“Sometimes in the grant world, without a study you are not going to get anymore construction dollars,” O’Malley said.

The study is also a way to make sure the money flowing from the state or federal government isn’t being wasted on a project that will never happen or on a project that has been poorly planned.

“They want to see that you’ve got this thing planned out, that you’re ready to go,” O’Malley said.

The study, which will detail the path the path will take to get into Seymour, is expected to be completed within six months. The next step is to find additional money for design and construction.

Click on the interview above for more information.

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