The Jonah Center’s earliest and longest-lasting project has born fruit. After 9 years of planning, proposal writing, grant writing, negotiations with City officials, set-backs, objections, more site-seeking, and much waiting, the Phil Salafia Canoe and Kayak Launch on the Coginchaug River is now open for use.
The official ribbon-cutting by the Mayor will take place on Friday, June 5, at 3 p.m., to coincide with the end of the Macdonough School Canoe Trip led by the Jonah Center and our volunteers.
The launch ramp is made of interlocking cement pavers, held together with steel cables, and laid on 18″ of gravel. Even at the current extremely low water level, the ramp extends well into the water to form a solid bottom for people launching their boats.
We wish to thank everyone who played a part in the construction of the boat launch: the Coginchaug River Access Group, City officials, and Jonah Center supporters who have kept the effort going over the years.
The boat launch is named after Phil Salafia, a Common Council member in the 1950s who was a member of the first Parks Commission. The City purchased the “Salafia property” from the family of Phil Salafia, Jr.— 20 acres along the Coginchaug River just upstream from the new boat launch —in 2007. Facilitating this open space acquisition was one of the very first accomplishments of the Jonah Center.