NORWALK, Conn. – Docks on the Norwalk River are expected to be connected to create a boardwalk, Harbor Management Commission member Tony D’Andrea said.
D’Andrea was seeking the commission’s approval Wednesday night for an application put together by the Planning and Zoning Department in coordination with the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency (RDA) to create a public accessway behind 148 East Ave. on city-owned riverfront property. Approval was granted. The application is expected to move on to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
Susan Sweitzer of the RDA said that piece is in addition to two others that have already gotten approval in a continuing effort to bring the Harbor Loop Trail to fruition.
The Norwalk Harbor Loop Trail is a project that began more than 30 years ago and is zoned into all new construction. The walkway has not been completed, with several notable gaps (such as the one at 148 East Ave. and the property south of there), keeping pedestrians from walking the entire planned loop around the Norwalk River waterfront.
Oversight of the Harbor Loop Trail, also known as the Waterfront Public Access project, was transferred from P&Z to the RDA last June, as a result of the building boom. Former Mayor Richard Moccia commented at the time that the switch might speed things up.
“I think Redevelopment does have the ability to act on things pretty fast in some ways, because they’re a separate authority,” he said.
The “Yankee Doodle Bridge” portion and the 40 Cross St. portion go to bid this spring, Sweitzer said. They were approved as part of last year’s capital budget process.
“I am preparing a schedule now so I would expect that the two pieces could be constructed this summer/fall. I am also finalizing a project cost estimate and will have that by tomorrow or Monday,” she wrote in an email.
The piece behind 148 East Ave. would connect to the soon-to-be-constructed Yankee Doodle Bridge boardwalk, and to the property just north, where there is already a boardwalk, she said.
The Cross Street project is simpler, a trail along the river front.
The city’s objective would be to have a minimum 10-foot wide public access waterway, according to the application going to DEEP. There would be a 950-foot long raised boardwalk at 148 East Ave., with the rest of the accessway being made of asphalt on the ground.
The project is complicated by three outfall pipes. They will be extended, the application says.