The Tri-Town Trail committee has taken another step forward in making the 14-mile trail connecting Preston, Ledyard and Groton a reality.
The committee is making a big effort to gather support and begin to raise money for our proposed trail between Bluff Point State Park and Preston Community Park, according to trail coordinator David Holdridge, who said the project has been in the works for some time.
The proposal for a bike trail along Route 117 began way back in 2001 and has since developed into a 14-mile corridor passing through the Preston Community Park, Clark Farm and hospital fields, Groton Reservoir, the Copp Property and Bluff Point State Park in Groton.
The project has the full blessing of the towns involved and although town officials from all three signed a joint resolution to check out the feasibility of blazing such a trail, the blazing came to an abrupt halt when the City of Groton declined access to the trails around the reservoir, which happens to be in the middle of the route.
Access to the trails around the reservoir is preferred due to the scenic nature of the area and builing alternatvies would cost more money, according to Holdridge. And, if you include the reservoir land, two-thirds of the route already have trails in place and the committee hopes to connect those trails, add a couple more and provide public access along the way.
With the trail, committee members hope to provide a safe route to work for bicycle commuters and increase the outdoor recreation possibilities. The committee has applied for two separate grants ($200,000 each) to begin work on both ends of the trail, leaving the middle route to be determined.
Committee members are hosting a gala to be held under the tent at The Paddock Tack Shop on Rose Hill Farm tonight. Money raised by the fundraiser will go toward the committee's promise to match some of the grant funds.
Holdridge said the event will feature exhibits and discussions about the Trail, a first-rate silent auction, fine food and drink, and live music by the Cabin Fever bluegrass band. The public is invited to attend from 5:30 to 9 p.m.