Replace Our Trees — Attend the Program, Sign the Petition

In recent years, the City of Middletown has lost trees at a much faster rate than the city has planted new trees. To address this issue, the Jonah Center for Earth and Art and the City of Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission invite the public to a special meeting on Tuesday, October 15, 7-8:30 p.m. in the Middletown’s Council Chambers, 245 deKoven Drive. (See information on the petition below.)

The Jonah Center is also gathering signatures on a petition in preparation for the city’s budget hearings in the spring. We plan to ask for at least $50,000 in additional funds to support an increase in tree-planting from 20-30 trees per year to at least 100 trees per year. Read more and sign the petition here.

Replace Our Trees — Sign The Petition

In recent years, the City of Middletown has removed dead and dying trees at a much faster rate than the city has planted new trees. Due to the Emerald Ash Borer, about 300 dead ash trees currently need to be removed, according to the Urban Forestry Commission. A line of dead ash trees along Church Street between Broad and High (shown here) is one striking and sad example.  Only 20-30 trees will likely be planted city-wide in the current year, given the available budget. Removing a large tree is far more expensive than planting a younger, smaller tree. For this reason, the urban forestry budget is being exhausted by the need for tree removals.

Climate change is playing a role in this process, just when trees are more urgently needed to mitigate climate change. Invasive plants, changing insect populations, and damage by vehicles are additional negative factors. Continue reading

New Sidewalks In Portland

Sidewalks are being replaced in Portland. The Town has completed nearly $1 million in sidewalk replacements funded by the Town’s voters through a ballot referendum in 2017. The Jonah Center’s recommendations of a “road safety audit” and the state’s Community Connectivity grant program led to an additional $200,000 in funding for the Town’s sidewalks.

Shown in the picture here is work underway on a stretch of new sidewalk on the northwest side of Main Street between Russell Street and Arvid Road.

Cheers For 16 Year-Old Environmentalist

Lily Herron (daughter of Kathy and Bob) turned 16 this summer. As a sign of hope for the world, Lily’s party invitation requested no presents and that instead her friends make a donation to the Jonah Center.  What an inspired young woman, and what an example for others! Her idea was very well-received and resulted in a collective donation to the Jonah Center of $226. This came in the month of August when our income is usually zero. Thank you Lily! And congratulations to Bob and Kathy for nurturing a child into a young adult who wants to do something good for the world rather than accumulate more stuff for herself.  See? There is hope!

Portland To Vote On Purchase Of Riverfront Property

The town of Portland is holding 2 public hearings on Thursday, August 22 and Tuesday, August 27, both beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Portland Library, to provide information and public conversation regarding the purchase of properties at 222, 230, and 248 Brownstone Ave. A Town Meeting vote to authorize purchase of the properties will take place on Wednesday, September 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Brownstone Intermediate School at 314 Main Street in Portland. Continue reading

Ribbon-Cutting For Long Lane Multi-Use Trail

On Tuesday, August 27, at 2 p.m., the City of Middletown held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the new multi-use trail that begins at the Long Hill Road soccer field, just west of the intersection of Long Hill Road and Long Lane, and ends at the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street. The trail is the first part of a city-wide network of trail and bike routes envisioned by the Bike Route & Trails Plan 2017 developed by Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee.

Water Chestnut Work Parties Finished For The Season

Over the summer, volunteers contirbuted about 170 person-hours of labor removing invasive water chestnut from the Floating Meadows between Middletown and Cromwell.  It was a huge and heroice effort, especially by those who joined multiple work parties.  It was also a fun and gratifying activitiy. The weather, wind, and water level conditions were mostly favorable this year.  Unfortunately, we were still not able to remove all the plants,  especially those located back in the shallows where the wild rice grasses are very thick.  We were successful in keeping the main channel of the river open.  Water chestnut is showing up in other locations along the Connecticut River, so the threat is spreading.

We will be back on the water next June with reinforcements and renewed energy.

What Can Be Recycled, What Can’t Be, And Why

Since China quit buying recycled materials from the United States, the recycling market and many recycling facilities in our country have been thrown for a loop.  Materials pile up, and contamination of recyclables (including putting things in the recycling bin that cannot be recycled) has wreaked havoc.  Here’s an opportunity to get the situation straight. We need a healthy, viable recycling system. Here’s now you can help.

Bike-Ped Improvements Appear In Middletown

Two long-awaited projects in Middletown are being realized in Middletown this spring. Bike route sharrows (share the lane arrows) have been painted on deKoven  Drive (top, left). This bike route starts at Main and Rapallo and ends where Millbrook Road meets the Durham town line.

The multi-use trail along Long Lane has now been completed.  Shown here (bottom, left) is the resting area where the trail comes to Wadsworth Street.  This trail is already heavily used and appreciated by nearby residents.

 

We thank Middletown’s Department of Public Works for their work on these projects to improve conditions for wallking and bicycling in Middletown.  They are the first major accomplishments toward realizing Middletown’s Bike Routes and Trails Master Plan.

Portland Adopts 14-Mile Bike Route

The Town of Portland has adopted and installed signage for its new, official 14-mile bike route. The route begins in the town center and makes a scenic loop through the hills of Portland, passing golf courses, farms, ponds, streams, and a close-up view of the Connecticut River at  Gildersleeve Island (where bald eagles are frequently sighted). The route was designed to be cycled in a counter-clockwise direction in order to reach the higher elevations of the town via the least strenuous (most gradual) climbs.  Bicyclists should note that this is still a fairly strenuous route suitable for persons who are in good health and physical condition.  The route may be modified to reduce the length and avoid the steepest hills. Contact John Hall for suggestions along these lines.

The Complete Streets Group of Portland endorsed the route, requested funds for signage from the Board of Selectmen, and developed recommendations for where bike route direction signs and sharrows (on Main Street) should be located. The Public Works Department was a very helpful and accommodating partner in this project.

To access the Google Map (including the ability to zoom in to see details such as street names, turn directions, and highlights, click here.