Photo Credit: Osman Parvez, Slapdash Adventures
The Norwalk River is the single most underutilized, under-appreciated asset in town. Whereas as other towns, like Boulder, CO, above, have made their rivers into town centerpieces, ours flows mostly out of sight along the backs of buildings and parking lots.
Someday, hopefully, we will see tubers and kayakers paddling past riverfront cafes and restaurants. That vision is a ways off. As a first step, however, we need to reconnect the town with the river by building an esplanade. This is a work in progress.
In the Wall Street area, there is the beginnings of an esplanade. Along the Mechanic street parking lot (at bottom) there is a walkway from Wall Street to under the Burnell Blvd bridge. Meanwhile, the Avalon development (pdf site plan) is building a riverwalk north from the Burnell/River intersection (at top).
This leaves a missing piece around the Burnell Blvd bridge. Fortunately, this bridge is scheduled for a major overhaul. I've reached out to the ConnDOT engineer (with another assist from Bob Duff's office) to build the missing link in the esplanade as part of the bridge replacement project and she was receptive. It would most likely be included with Phase II of the bridge replacement, which won't be advertised until 2013. So, hopefully in 2014, we will have a river esplanade in the Wall St area and the reconnection of the city with the river will have begun.