Branford trailblazer Chet Blomquist and the Shoreline Greenway Trail’s local team received approval Wednesday for the design and construction of a 1-mile trail that will cross the town-owned Tabor property.
The Board of Selectmen (BOS) unanimously approved a request to allocate federal funds for the project. In other action, the board approved several reappointments and appointments to boards, including placing the first selectman’s aunt on the Commission for Elderly Services.
Linking the Shoreline
First Selectman James Cosgrove said the federal funds for this stretch of the Shoreline Greenway Trail (SGT) had been approved before, but there were some problems and the trail had to be repositioned.
The new section will be part of the proposed 25-mile hiking and biking trail along the shoreline that that will extend from Lighthouse Point in New Haven to Hammonasset State Park in Madison.
Blomquist, pictured above when he was honored in 2011 for his trailblazing efforts in Branford, described the proposed link.
“We’ve done a pretty good job of making it out of the way so it won’t interfere with anything that might be there in the future,” Blomquist said in regard to the 77-acre Tabor property. He told the selectmen that the trail will extend from the area of the Shoreline Kennel on Pine Orchard Road, traverse the Tabor property, passing Chet’s Pond (named in honor of Blomquist) and then continue toward Meadow Street.
“We are so excited,” Judy Miller told the Eagle. Miller co-chairs the SGT team in Branford along with Blomquist. They have been working on several sections of Branford’s portion of the SGT for a number of years. Miller said it will take a couple of years to complete the design work, obtain the necessary approvals and construct the trail across Tabor.
“It’s going to be wonderful for Branford,” Miller said of the Tabor trail. “It‘s just beautiful there.” The 10-foot wide trail will be handicapped accessible and will provide a safe route for walking, hiking and bicycle riding. Miller said work is progressing on the SGT trail in all the shoreline towns that will be linked.
Click here to see the Shoreline Greenway Trail site.
In 2011, Blomquist was honored for his efforts to establish a 28-mile walking trail along Branford’s perimeter, and for his work with the Shoreline Greenway Trail. Blomquist was a physical education teacher at Walsh Intermediate School, and volunteered with the town’s recreation programs for more than 50 years.
Earlier this month, Blomquist led a group of about 30 walkers as they crossed the proposed Tabor trail and headed for the dedication of the new Ecology Park atop the site of the town’s former landfill or “dump.” The opening of the park culminated years of work by the town to close the landfill and turn it into a passive recreation area. The new park is near the Tabor land.
A 10-acre portion of the 77-acre Tabor property was slated to be the site of the town’s new public works building during the Unk DaRos administration. However, the site was rejected after extensive opposition by neighbors. A master plan for the Tabor property called for a baseball field, softball field, a multi-purpose field, a concession building and restrooms, a BMX bicycle park, connections to walking trails, and the public works facility. Those plans were shelved.
New Elderly Commissioner
The BOS made several appointments to boards and commissions during the 10-minue meeting Wednesday.
Susan Cosgrove Barnes, the first selectman’s aunt, was named to a fill a vacancy on the nine-member Commission on Elderly Services. The motion was made by Second Selectman Joe Higgins and seconded by Third Selectman Bruce Storm. Both Higgins and Storm voted in favor of the appointment, and Cosgrove (pictured) abstained from voting because of the family ties.
Afterward, the Eagle asked Cosgrove if having his aunt on the commission could be a conflict of interest. Cosgrove serves as an ex-officio member of the Commission on Elderly Services, and the commission will be pivotal in the months ahead as the town works to find or build a new senior center.
“I don’t feel there’s any conflict there,” Cosgrove told the Eagle. “It’s a voluntary group.”
During the meeting, Cosgrove reminded the television audience about the upcoming senior center workshops. “I encourage everybody of all ages to attend,” he said.
The meetings will be held Thursday, Nov. 6, at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the community room of the Fire Headquarters. The meetings were previously scheduled Oct. 28, but the schedule was changed due to a conflict.
Cosgrove recently hired the Branford architectural firm of Arbonies King Vlock PC to conduct an assessment of senior programs and to spearhead workshops about the need for a new senior center. Click here to read a previous story.
In other action, Brad Crerar was moved from alternate to full member of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). There is now a vacancy for an alternate membership. Jim Sette, who chairs the ZBA, was reappointed for a 5-year term.
Robert Imperato and David Steinhardt were re-appointed to five-year terms on the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA).
Third Selectman Storm asked if there was any problem with Imperato continuing to serve on the WPCA while he is a member of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM). He is pictured here to the right.
Ray Ingraham, Republican majority leader of the RTM, told the selectmen he had looked into the matter and that it’s permissible for RTM members to serve on town boards. The re-appointments were unanimously approved.