Completing the Air Line Trail Gap In East Hampton

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While Portland was working on its phase 1 section of the Air Line Trail, completed in 2017, East Hampton was planning to extend its part of its section of the trail westward to connect with the Portland segment. East Hampton completed that extension in 2018, except for a 1500 foot gap that could not be constructed due to the presence of wetlands—actually a stream runs through a narrow gorge. Also, Eversource utility poles occupy that same gorge. A decision was made to construct a boardwalk trail over the wetland, but that plan required the utility poles to be moved first.

After several years of off and on discussions between the Town of East Hampton, DEEP (The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection), and Eversource, a plan to move the poles has been achieved. Eversource will relocate the poles and transmission line onto town property at East Hampton’s Water Pollution Control Authority. We hope that that work can be completed by the end of the summer of 2021. Once the poles are moved, East Hampton can apply for funds to build a boardwalk trail through the gorge.

In the meantime, phase 2 of Portland’s Air Line Trail has been designed and awaits a funding opportunity for construction.

The Jonah Center will  continue to keep the public informed as new developments emerge.

Saybrook Road Bike-Ped Improvements Expected Soon

Present (2020) state of roadway.  No sidewalk, no crosswalk, no pedestrian crossing signal, no bike lanes.

In 2012, the Jonah Center and Middletown’s Complete Streets Committee prioritized for improvements one of the most dangerous areas in Middletown. At least, we expect huge improvements to the area in the coming year. It’s been a long wait, but we are very excited to know that the needed changes will happen soon. Continue reading

Landfill Trail Update

After several years of delays, the Jonah Center’s very first vision has been partially realized. The yellow line in the image above shows the new gravel trail that leads to the top of the landfill. The Jonah Center has proposed a loop trail at the top that would lead to the best views, plus a wildlife viewing platform as a destination for bird-watching and to provide a panoramic view of the Floating Meadows, the Arrigoni Bridge, and downtown Middletown.

In the meantime, however, we are waiting for city to complete its plan to install a solar array on the southern part of the top and on the south-facing slope. We have requested that the array be situated so as not to block the views from the top.  The city replied that the layout of the array has been modified so that it will be lower than the highest elevation of the landfill cap. If that is the case, the views should not be seriously blocked.

Here’s the history: The Jonah Center’s very first project in 2004 was to construct both a canoe and kayak launch and a hiking trail around and to the top of Middletown’s retired landfill, both near 180 Johnson St. The Jonah Center wrote an application for a Recreational Trails Grant in 2005, and the city was awarded a $50,000 grant in 2007. The boat launch was opened in 2014, but the landfill trail was not included in the project at that time.

The Jonah Center assisted the city in applying for another Recreational Trails Grant in 2014, which resulted in a $103,000 grant to the city from DEEP to construct the landfill trail.  After a long delay, these funds were used to construct the new trail to the top in 2021, but the proposed loop trail was not constructed.