Greenway Update

In 2003, the Willimantic River Alliance nominated the river as an official state greenway. Since then, Greenway projects in the nine towns along the river continue to improve recreational opportunities and to preserve the natural resources of the river and its watershed.

TRAILS: The 2-mile Highland Trail in Stafford was cleared and blazed. It begins at the Witt Middle School parking lot on Highland Terrace and climbs to ridgetop views of the river valley. The Ellington Conservation Commission is considering options for extending this trail.

The Midriver Greenway Trail continues to grow. Tolland is planning an extension of this trail from the Coventry line north through the King property. Coventry is considering options for extending this trail south from the Brigham Road/Plains Road bridge to Eagleville Dam. Eventually, the Midriver Greenway Trail will be 5-to-6 miles long.

Windham received a $1.2 million grant to build a section of the East Coast bikeway across new pedestrian bridges over the river and through Willimantic. Design work will begin in 2007.

BOATING: Willington is developing a design for a canoe landing at the former Peck's bridge and mill in South Willington. In Mansfield, the River Park design is complete and construction will begin on a canoe launch and parking lot on Plains Road in 2007.

PARKS: Windham dedicated its new park, The Garden on the Bridge, which will offer flower gardens along with scenic views of the river and restored mills. The Willimantic Whitewater Partnership is purchasing the Boland property, a key parcel in the proposed riverside park in Willimantic.

NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION: Tolland received a DEP Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Grant to purchase development rights to the 174-acre King property. This preservation project will protect the river's water quality and provide a half-mile of riverside access for fishing and walking.