In Ansonia: Sen. Logan, Local Leaders Mark Expansion of Ansonia Riverwalk

September 29, 2017

ANSONIA — Shovels went into the ground Thursday to kick off the expansion of the Ansonia Riverwalk on Division Street, along with an announcement of additional funds to keep the project moving along.

Mayor David Cassetti, along with various local and state officials, including state Sen. George Logan, R-Ansonia, grabbed golden shovels and donned white hard hats in a ceremonial gesture to launch the groundbreaking of what’s being dubbed Segment 8 of the riverwalk expansion.

Cassetti announced that an additional $600,000 from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration was secured by Ansonia in order to complete the additional 700 feet of paved walkway, slated to be complete next spring. Waters Construction of Bridgeport is handling the job.

The overall $2.3 million expansion is being funded 80 percent by federal dollars, along with a 20 percent municipal share.

Economic Development Director Sheila O’Malley said the project “stalled” due to a shortage of funds, but thanks to the additional money that recently came in, O’Malley said it moved the project “from the shelf to construction.”

Segment 8 of the expansion will feature a concrete, multi-use trail connected to the original Division Street leg of the trail and ending at Pershing Drive. Other improvements will include landscaping and signage, but the main highlight will be a 130 ft. pedestrian bridge built over the Waterbury-Bridgeport Rail line, part of the Metro-North rail system. The bridge will also connect pedestrians to Pershing Drive, via the trail, enabling them to explore downtown.

“Our residents and visitors will be able to truly enjoy everything Ansonia has to offer,” Cassetti said. “Whether they are shopping at Target, Big Y, Marshalls, Homegoods or any of our other retail shops, catching a train into New York, eating at our ethnically diverse restaurants or walking along the Riverwalk, we welcome visitors and residents to experience everything wonderful about Ansonia. I hope to see everyone out on the new trail very soon.”

The next phase of the expansion, dubbed Segments 3 and 4, was announced earlier this summer, and will feature, in part, construction of the Valley’s own lighthouse perched high atop a levy on the Naugatuck River, serving as a welcoming beacon for all who meander along the path.

Once the entire expansion is complete, Cassetti said the Riverwalk will become “something like a roundtrip ticket that will loop walkers, joggers and bicyclists from the Division Street starting point, through downtown, up Main Street south, past our planned Charger Point Lighthouse, continuing over another Naugatuck River levy and ending back at Division Street for a healthy 3 mile excursion.”

Project engineers, DeCarlo and Doll have already begun design work for Segments 3 and 4, which is slated to cost about $1.4 million. The project falls under the Transportation Alternatives Program, and includes funding from the Federal Highway Administration, state Department of Transportation, the Bridgeport Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Central Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments, according to Cassetti.

“I am proud to announce that my staff and I have been able to secure almost $4 million in grants to expand Ansonia’s Riverwalk,” Cassetti added. “We are dedicated to recharging Ansonia on every level. The continuation of our Riverwalk solidifies the commitment I have made to improve the quality of life for all Ansonia residents.”

The lighthouse, pending Army Corps of Engineers approval, will feature an observation platform where visitors will be able to view the bend of the river, the trestle and the soon to be built pedestrian bridge on the westerly side of the river, according to Cassetti.