Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, walking along the Farmington Heritage trail has been one of the only outdoor activities Cheshire residents have continued to enjoy, hopefully with proper social distancing guidelines being followed.
At the last two Public Safety Commission meetings, the idea of establishing a multi-town trail safety group has been proposed to help address any issues that may arise.
“It was originally suggested by a few people over in Southington, but the idea is for a multi-town trail safety group, which would cover Southington, Cheshire, and Plainville,” explained Town Manager Sean Kimball. “It’s still very early in the process, but it’s something we’re definitely interested in.”
At the Jan. 13 meeting, CSPC Chairman Frank Loehmann introduced the idea to the members, and explained that the general idea would be for a volunteer-based group to possibly help to install lighting and add speed bumps and stop signs along the trail where it makes its way through the three towns. As it currently stands, there is minimal lighting on the trail, which means it is open to residents only during daylight hours, and there are no safety or call boxes along the path.
Loehmann and the members expressed support for the idea back in January, and the idea of a Trail Working Safety Group was brought up again at the Feb. 10 meeting where the Commission discussed how they might go about forming the group.
“Will this be a coordinated effort of all three towns, or do we need to start as a single town group first?” Loehmann asked the rest of the CPSC.
It was ultimately decided that, for now, the CPSC will wait to formulate any plans for creating such a group until they receive feedback from each commissioner as to what they would like to see done and then generate a list of ideas from which to work.
“We should have a list ready and then approach the other towns and see what they have. That way, we can all have a say,” Loehmann added.
Loehmann and the other members of the CPSC did express skepticism over what types of additions and renovations could feasibly be done on the trail, and that something like lighting the entire path would ultimately prove to be too expensive.
“It’s a really, really big ask,” Loehmann said. “Especially with finances as bad as they are.”
“(To light the trail) would be a really big undertaking,” added CPSC member Greg Wolff.