Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 1 1. Overview of the Study The Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study recommends a feasible routing for the Naugatuck River Greenway (NRG) trail through Thomaston, Watertown, Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, connecting to Waterbury. The NRG will provide residents throughout the region with a safe multi-use path that connects to neighboring municipalities. It is envisioned that this greenway will ultimately extend 44 miles from Torrington to Derby. The two primary goals of the Naugatuck River Greenway (NRG) are: 1) To develop a non-motorized transportation facility for walkers and cyclists. 2) To provide public access to the Naugatuck River. The Council of Governments of the Central Naugatuck Valley (COGCNV) and a consultant team led by Alta Planning + Design studied, analyzed and developed routing recommendations for the Naugatuck River Greenway trail. Five study reports were created, one for each study municipality and a regional report that covers the 22-mile river corridor through the Central Naugatuck River Region. The st udy reports make recommendations for the trail and related improvements such trailheads, parking areas, canoe/kayak landings, as river access for fishing, on-street bike improvements, equestrian uses and spur connections. Cost esti mates and phasing recommendations for the greenway trail are also included. The year-long routing study effort included commu nity workshops, site walks, stakeholder meetings, GIS-based data analysis and review of aerial photography. The study was ov erseen by the Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Committee (RNRGC), which included municipal officials, representatives from state and federal agencies, and COGCNV staff. Committee meetings were open to the public. A study website (http://www.cogcnv.org/greenway/ ) was created to keep the public informed about the study and to solicit public comment on draft documents and maps. Public workshops were conducted in each of the four communities. These workshops provided valuable input on routing recommendations, design options and property-ownership issues. The study team also learned of important connections to neighborhoods and commercial areas outside of the study corridor. Additional trail spurs and connections were added to the recommendations as a result. A public meeting was held in September 2010. Informational presentations were also given in October 2010 to the public and municipal officials in each study community. Map showing the five municipalities affected by this Study, though the alignment through Waterbury was determined se paratel y One of the break-out group tables at the community meeting held in Thomaston on November 18, 2009 Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 2 Proposed view looking southwest to the new NRG at-grade crossing of Hill Road Trail cross-section north of Frost Bridge Road (Route 262) showing the greenway trail’s relationship to the Naugatuck River, the Naugatuck Railroad and Route 8 2. Recommended Greenway Routing Early on in the planning process, the consulting team analyzed the opportunities and challenges of establishing a trail along the Naugatuck River. So me of the primary opportunities include existing unpaved service-vehicle access roads, roadways with wide lanes and shoulders (that could be narrowed), existing or funded sections of trail currently along the river and large parcels of public land. The most significant challenges to creating a greenway trail with in the river corridor include an active railroad line, the Route 8 expressway, privately owned propertie s along the river, steep slopes and wetlands. The resulting analysis was incorporated into the developm ent of recommendations for the routing of the trail and is summarized below: Thomaston The NRG within Thomaston will provide a diverse experience for walkers, runners and cyclists. The 4.5 mile trail includes portions set adjacent to existing roadways, soft-surface pathways close to the river, a short “rail- with-trail” portion, and streets shared with low-speed vehicle traffic. The route will provide connections to many attractions in town: Thomaston Dam, Railroad Museum of New England, Clock Walk, Thomaston Opera House and Blue-Blazed Mattatuck Trail at the Watertown line. Trail-side amenities will be provided along the route, including: small parking lots, picnic areas, small boat launches (for canoes and kayaks), rest stops, seating, water fountains, public art, and interpretive signage and kiosks. Watertown In Watertown, the 3.4 mile long NRG will consist primarily of a multi-use path that runs in between Route 8 and the rail line adjacent to the west bank of the Naugatuck River. In some locations, the trail alignment is relatively close to the tracks—separated by a buffer of 25’— whereas in others locations, it is separated from the rail line by a wider vegetated buffer. The stretch of greenway between the Thomaston Town Line at Branch Brook and Frost Bridge Road is a two-mile stretch of pathway unbroken by cross streets or roads. It runs through a very scenic section of the Naugatuck River valley. From Frost Bridge Road to the Waterbury line, the trail will run alongside the rail line with occasional sections affording closer access and views to the river. A new pedestrian/bike bridge connects the trail on the west bank to the northern terminus of Waterbury’s portion of the Naugatuck River Greenway just south of the intersection of Thomaston Avenue and Spruce Brook Road. Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 3 Chase River Road’s wide shoulders will be narrowed to accommodate the NRG Future NRG trail alongside the active commuter rail line in Naugatuck The connection through the State Forest could include a trail section similar to the Catwalk Trail in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest Waterbury Completed in February 2010, the Waterbury Naugatuck River Greenway Routing and Feasibility Study developed recommendations for the city’s seven-mile section of greenway trail. The proposed trail will include ten trailheads, six small parking areas, four new paddlecraft put-ins, four new river bridges and the rehabilitation of three existing rail trestle bridges. It also includes recommendations for trail spurs and on-street connections to link the Waterbury NRG to the Steele Brook path, downtown Waterbury and the train station. Though completed in a separate planning process, the proposed alignment was intended to incorporate the trail’s extension to the north and south as part of the regional Naugatuck River Greenway. Naugatuck The NRG in Naugatuck will take various forms including portions set adjacent to existing roadways, soft-surface pathways adjacent to the river (in the short term), “rail- with-trail” portions adjacent to Metro-North and a multi- use path running through Borough parks adjacent to the river. The 3.3 mile route will incorporate the already planned greenway trail through Linden Park to the Maple Street Bridge and provide connections to many destinations and attractions such as the Green, the railroad station, the Historical Society Museum and a number of open spaces including Linden Park, Breen Field, the Naugatuck State Forest and a future recreation area on the former Uniroyal site. Trail-side amenities will include small parking lots, picnic areas, boat launches, rest stops, water fountains, public art, seating, interpretive signage and kiosks. Beacon Falls In Beacon Falls, the NRG will be a 4.3 mile trail that includes a nearly two-mile stretch through the Naugatuck State Forest, in the short term as an improved system of existing trails. In the long term, the greenway will include catwalks, structured portions and potentially a new bridge over the river to connect the do wntown area to the existing trails behind the Murtha Ind ustrial Park. From North Main Street, the trail will connect to the section of greenway currently planned and funded along South Main Street from the Depot Street Bridge to the intersection with Rte. 42. The route will provide important connections to numerous public open spaces, including the State Forest, Veterans Park, Volunteer Park and to Toby’s Pond and Recreational Park. Like other municipalities, trail-side amenities will be provided along the route as well. Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 4 Recommended Greenway Routing Concept from Thomaston to Beacon Falls Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 5 Diagram illustrating Regional NRG Trail Priority Sections 3. Trail Section Prioritization Most likely, financial constraints will require the Na ugatuck River Greenway to be completed in multiple phases. For Thomaston, Watertown, Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, a recommended phasing plan was created by weighing seven criteria for each segment of the NRG trail. The criteria included Connectivity, Permitting Requirements, Construction Cost, Ease of Construction, Private Property Impacts, Momentum Building and Cultural Benefits. The results of the evaluation show that one of the two or three NRG trail sections in each municipality stands out as the clear priority project. This quartet of phased projects should help to chart a course for a regional strategy that looks at funding portions of the greenway in an effective manner, one that will introduce portions of the greenway to Thomaston, Watertown, Naugatuck and Beacon Falls at approximately the same time period. North of Waterbury, the phasing evaluation highlights the potential of two adjoining phases in Thomaston and Watertown running from downtown Thomaston to Frost Bridge Road. South of Waterbury, the priority projects extend the linear length of the previously- funded NRG projects in downtown Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, respectively. Although connecting all four towns to each other and to Waterbury’s portion of the NRG will be a long-term endeavor but one that will bring tremendous rewards for the residents of the region. Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 6 4. Community Phasing Plans and Cost Estimates The following tables provide a description of phase limits, phase lengths, recommended construction priority, and estimated cost for the four municipalities in the corridor , not including Waterbury. The tables are also broken down into “Primary” and “S econdary” portions, i.e. trail elements that are necessary for the completion of the primary portion of the NRG trail vs. secondary elements such as spurs, loops and streetscape improvem ents that are not integral to the full completion of the trail within the municipal limits. Table 1: Thomaston Section Description Length (miles) Phase Total Cost T‐ 1  Thomaston Dam  to  Railroad  Museum   1.5  3 $1,716,000  T‐2  East  Main  Street  Bridge  and  Elm  Street   0.5  2  $1,913,000   T‐3  Seth Thomas  Factory  to Watertown  Line   1.9  1 $1,900,000    Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Primary  3.9    $5,529,000     Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Secondary       $372,000  Table 2: Watertown   Table 3: Naugatuck Section Description Length (miles) Phase Total Cost N ‐1  Waterbury Line to  Pulaski  Bridge   1.1  2 $1,140,000  N‐2  Maple  Street  Bridge  to  Breen  Field  0.8  1  $1,192,000   N‐2  Breen Field  to  Beacon  Falls  Line   1.4   3 $2,044,000    Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Primary  3.3   $4,376,000    Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Secondary      $888,000     Table 4: Beacon Falls Section Description Length (miles) Phase Total Cost BF‐1   Naugatuck Line  to  Main  Street   1.8  2 $2,744,000  BF‐2   Main  Street  to  Toby’s  Pond   1.8  1  $1,357,000   BF‐3   Toby’s Pond  to  Seymour  Line   0.7   3 $681,000     Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Primary  4.3   $4,782,000    Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Secondary      $910,000   Section Description Length (miles) Phase Total Cost W‐1  Thomaston Line  to  Frost  Bridge  Road   2.7  1 $1,847,000  W‐2  Frost  Bridge  Road  to  Waterbury  Line  0.7  2  $917,000   Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Primary 3.4  $2,764,000     Total Construction  Cost  ‐ Secondary       $1,970,000  Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 7 Future view of the NRG trail adjace nt to the active railroad tracks between the O&G wash plant and Toby’s Pond and Recreational Park in Beacon Falls Conclusion / Next Steps The Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study is just the first step in the development of the Naugatuck River Greenway (NRG). The NRG will be a long-term, multi-phase project led by the municipalities, in cooperation with state and federal ag encies. It will require the continued involvement of members of the public, elected officials at all levels of government and community groups in order to support and guide the implementation effort. The following ‘next steps’ are recommended in order to move the effort forward in a sustainable fashion:  Adopt the Study: Thomaston, Watertown, Naugatuck and Beacon Falls could amend their Plans of Conservation and Development to in corporate the greenway alignment.  Create the Right-of-Way: This will ensure that the proposed alignment for the trail is gradually assembled and made available for public access. This can be accomplished by using: o New zoning regulations to ensure that the greenway is accommodated into redevelopment proposals along the proposed greenway alignment. o Solicitations of easement or outright ownership should also be considered when key privately-owned parcels are on the market. o Begin permitting process to ensure that all necessary approvals and permits are completed, including Inland Wetlands, CTDEP and Army Corps of Engineers.  Find Project “Champions” to Raise Awareness and Money: Each municipality should identify an individual, commission or committee to oversee subsequent steps in the design, funding and implementation process for the greenway.  Establish a Public-Private-Non-Profit Partnership: Establishment of a “Friends of the NRG” non-profit organization can be an effective advocate and fundraiser for the project.  Find “Early Win” Projects: Support for continued action at the local level will grow out of small successes that move the project or in dividual pieces of the project forward.  Negotiate with the Connecticut Department of Transportation to ensure that the needs of the railroad corridor are met while designing the rails-with-trails sections. Also coordinate with the highway division on the use of state highway rights-of-way.  Incorporate the greenway alignment into the Thomaston Dam master plan to allow for future partnerships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. With these actions moving forward, the Naugatuck River Greenway will become a regional asset for residents, businesses and visitors. The trail will enhance non- motorized transportation opportunities and bring a recreational amenity that rivals any within the state of Connecticut. Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 8 Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 9 Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 10 Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 11 Regional Naugatuck River Greenway Routing Study Executive Summary 12