Proposed greenway trail receives mixed reactions from residents

(WTNH/ Renee Chmiel)

GUILFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A proposed 25 mile trail that would connect two shoreline parks is getting mixed reactions from residents. The Shoreline Greenway Trail would connect Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven with Hammonsasset Beach State Park in Madison.

Plans are moving forward but not everyone in Guilford is happy about it. A Guilford resident started a petition opposing the greenway construction. She gathered more than 300 signatures. However, greenway board members say the trail would be good for the community.

A proposed nearly one mile trail on the south side of Route 1 in Guilford would extend from Boston Street to the East River. The Shoreline Greenway Trail board hopes it will mean fewer cars on the roads, cutting down on pollution and giving people a place to exercise.

“The goal is to connect the center of Guilford and the center of Madison with off road wherever possible safe transportation for families,” said Shoreline Greenway Trail Chair Judy Miller.

Parts of the trail that would connect the two parks are already in place, but they need to be connected. That’s what the trail in Guilford would do, but not all residents are happy about it.

“It’s not really solving problems. It’s creating problems,” said Guilford resident Patricia Klindienst.

Klindienst started the petition. She wants the board to provide a full plan – including a map – for where the trail would go. She’s afraid the trail is not safe.

“They have bikes, supposedly, going in two directions with pedestrians,” said Klindienst.

Klindienst says not all the landowners who would be impacted by the trail’s construction were notified. She’s also concerned that the board will take over residents’ property by way of eminent domain without getting the landowner’s approval. However, board members say that won’t happen, and that they respect the rights of landowners to decide for themselves.

“The Shoreline Greenway Trail will never ask for the use of eminent domain and we will not support the use of eminent domain to build our trail,” said Miller.

The greenway trail construction will be discussed at a Board of Selectmen public hearing next month.

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