River Park News        

 

The Friends of the Hockanum River Linear Park         Summer 2004         3rd Ed.

 Dear Friend,

This year has been a busy – and different - year for the Friends organization.  In addition to our ongoing efforts to make the river park happen, our resources and energies were taken in the direction of protecting the riverside greenway from the encroachment of development.  As we all know, creating greenspace along our rivers is critical to reversing the damage from once-polluted rivers, like the Hockanum.  River greenways also ensure future river protection.   Our thanks to you, our supporters, for helping us work toward these goals!

 The expanding system of river parks along the Hockanum River continues to host growing numbers of visitors of all ages -  from young parents with toddlers to walking retirees.   After all the angst of planning, acquisition, and at last -  park construction -  it is indeed very gratifying to see public enjoyment of these riverside retreats. 

   ¾  Ann Letendre, Board of Director, Friends of HRLP

 

 Come join us for a

Fall River and Marsh Walk!

 Sunday, October 10th at 1:00 pm

 

Meet at the small parking lot at Dart Hill North Park on Dart Hill Rd,

just 1/8 mile from Route 83, next to Walgreen’s.

 We will walk along the Hockanum upstream to the marsh area near the Water Pollution Control Facility.  This marsh area has a significant amount of bird activity, especially in the fall.  One way, it’s a 1.4 mile walk.   For those who want to travel just one way, we will have a shuttle back to the parking lot.

 Many thanks to the untiring efforts of our committee member George Arthur who spent countless hours re-clearing this leg of the river trail, which had become severely overgrown and impassible.  It is now ready for us to enjoy – please join us!

  

 

$$ Membership Support: it’s that time of year!

Your past support is appreciated –  we need your future support!

 

Thanks to YOU - we’ve been able to preserve greenspace along the river, add two acres to Dart Hill Park, and construct trails in the river parks. 

See membership form inside!

 

THE FRIENDS OF HRLP – AND WALGREENS:

FINALLY – A COMPROMISE

As part of our river protection goals, we feel it is important to review proposed plans for new development projects that are adjacent to the river. Scientific studies show that at least 50 to 100 feet of river buffer is needed to sustain aquatic habitats and to protect the river from non-point source pollution, the contaminated runoff from roads, parking lots, construction sites, farms, and pesticide-treated lawns.

The ideal approach is to work with developers upfront - at the start of the planning process so that these protection goals can be incorporated into initial plans – sparing both parties the added costs of legal battles and plan revisions.  

 Last spring the Town received an application for a second Walgreens, to be constructed at the corner of Routes 74 and 83.  (Ducky’s, Carr’s Radiator, and a third building would be removed).  Here was an opportunity to do something positive for the river, as well as to make improvements to the property.  BUT – the plans showed that the new building and parking lot would be constructed right up to the edge of a steep river embankment.  Public access to the river was blocked, and there was only 25-ft of river buffer.  The building was too large to accommodate any greater buffering.  We could not convince the applicants to construct a smaller building with less impervious surface and more greenspace – and we therefore had to oppose the application at public hearings before the Inland Wetlands and Planning & Zoning Commissions.

 The hearings were an intense experience – and took much time, effort and expense.  Many thanks go to our attorney, Amy Paterson, for her excellent work on our behalf. 

 Unfortunately, both commissions approved the application, but we felt so strongly that this plan was a detriment to the river, that we appealed the decision. The appeal process can take two years to settle – and time is money to Walgreens.   So - they invited us to the table to talk!  Revised plans will (1) reduce the building size by 3000 square feet to allow 50 feet of river buffer, (2) plant 160 trees and bushes in the buffer, and (3) provide a conservation easement on the buffer area, which will ensure public access to the river for future generations! ……

We are pleased with this outcome – but we ask the obvious………

                                        …………..shouldn’t it have been done in the first place?

 A Word About the Friends…

We are a non-profit 501c3 organization whose purpose is to encourage citizen involvement in the river park, and to bring the community ‘back to the river’.   We apply for grants to create new park areas and enhance existing parks.  To date we have received over $48,500 of grant funds!   Our able and hard-working Board of Directors are: 

Officers                                                                  Directors

 President Ginny Gingras                             George Arthur

                        Vice President – Betty Tedford                   Ed Dresner

                        Secretary/Treasurer – Ann Letendre          Amy Blaymore Paterson

               Call us at 875-4623 or 875-9865 anytime for questions or comments!

 

 

MORE RIVER GREENSPACE:

THE PARK at PAPER MILL POND IS COMPLETED!!

 

This is a small corner park with a very big story – beginning with a ‘nick-in-time’ rescue of the parcel, and ending with a lovely greenspace that now graces the corner of East Main and Grove streets!  Thanks to the landscaping design by Eagle Scout Rob Babcock, and support from the Rockville Downtown Association, and Vernon Parks and Recreation Department, this small park now provides an eye-pleasing gateway to Rockville.  Wrought iron fencing, a garden landscape, and a sitting area with a view of the pond, all beckon the passer-by to come sit and enjoy the waterside environment………

 

Obtaining the corner lot for the park was a long and tortuous road, beginning in 1996.  At that time, the corner was owned by the CT Department of Transportation (DOT).  Unaware that this corner lot was identified as a small sitting park in the Hockanum River Park Master Plan, the DOT had initiated steps to sell it to a neighboring auto business.  Once we learned of this situation, we immediately contacted DOT, and worked with them to find a solution.   It took 5+ years, and a lot of persistent telephone calls from the Friends, but ultimately DOT transferred the property to the Department of Environmental Protection parks department, which then leased it to the Town.  Finally, in December 2001, the lease arrived at Town Hall!!  Thanks go to Attorney Amy Paterson of our Committee, Chuck Reed and Dave Stygar of DEP, and to Jim Lewis and Carl Rosa of the DOT for making this small greenspace available for public enjoyment.

  

Two New Grants!  The Friends are working in partnership with the Vernon Conservation Commission and the Open Space Task Force to conduct natural resource studies in the important Tankerhoosen River watershed.  We are pleased to announce that we received two grants for this purpose:  $3000 from Rivers Alliance, Inc., and $1500 from New England Grassroots Foundation.   We have contracted with wildlife biologist, Jane Seymour, to do bird and amphibian studies in the upper ‘Tank’ area.   We will provide you with more information on this exciting new project in our next edition of River Park News!

 DON’T   FORGET   YOUR   MEMBERSHIP CONTRIBUTION!!!!

 " -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friends of Hockanum River Linear Park, Inc.

Membership Contribution Form  -  for Fiscal Year July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005

 

Name__________________________ Zip Code___________ o New Member

 

Street_______________________________       Town/State__________________

 

Tel._________________    I would like to volunteer some time to help the Friends o

 

 o INDIVIDUAL - $5.00            o FAMILY - $10.00                o CONTRIBUTING - $25.00

 

Send the form with your check to: 

Friends of HRLP,   21 Timber Lane,  Vernon, CT 06066

 

HRLP - Hockanum River Parks

HRLP - Slideshow presentation

HRLP - Newsletter
                            Spring 2003

                            Summer 2004 (this page)