As of today (late June 2021) the Jonah Center has been successful in planting 17 trees in “high public benefit” areas in Portland. 8 trees were planted in the Quarry Heights and Chatham Court neighborhoods of the Portland Housing Authority (see above); 3 trees were planted in the Quarry View Brownstone Park; 3 trees were planed on East Main; 2 trees were planted on Main Street; and 1 was planted on Waverly Avenue. We thank all the Portland donors to the Jonah Center Tree Fund who made these new trees possible. Pictured above are: Milca Santiago; Bonita Brockers and her son Cartier Brockers; Jesslyn Jordan her daughter Savannah LaFountain and son Travis LaFountain.
Shown above is one of the red maples planted at Quarry View Park. Pictured are Darlene Rice (co-owner of the park) and John Hall. Photo credit: Dean Soucy, the other co-owner and park developer.
The Quarry View Park assumed 1/2 of the cost by delivering and planting the trees themselves, and Portland Housing Authority paid 3/5 of the cost of the ornamental trees they received. Most of the 17 trees were larger-growing shade trees such as red maple, oak, London plane, and linden.
Below are the 2 red maples and 1 pin oak on East Main Street near Fairview.
The Jonah Center’s most far-reaching project is to connect the 2 longest multi-use trails in Connecticut. Of the 23 miles between the western terminus of the Air Line Trail in Portland and the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Cheshire, approximately 8.5 miles already exists in the form of shorter trail segments along the way. Another 8.6 miles has been planned or is in the process of being planned. That leaves about 5.5 miles in need of a routing study. The project has was recognized in state law in 2019 as the Air Line Trail – Farmington Canal Trail (ALT-FCT) Connector.
The Jonah Center is working with the Lower CT River Valley Council of Governments (the RiverCOG) to apply for a grant of $350,000 to study the whole connector route, with particular focus on the 5.5 miles between Smith Street in Middletown and North Broad Street in Meriden, and Newfield Street in Middletown.
The ALT-FCT Connector would use off-road trails for about 13 miles, and about 9.5 miles of on-road bike routes. Completion of the ALT-FCT Connector would result in completion of a 111-mile Central Connecticut Loop Trail (shown below). Click here for a Google Map of the Loop Trail that allows you to zoom in for more detail.
Paddlers will continue to go out into the Floating Meadows (the freshwater tidal marshland formed by the Mattabesset and Coginchaug Rivers) each Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., to remove invasive water chestnut plants. This invasive species endangers our local waterways by blocking sunlight and oxygen, thereby damaging the habitat for fish and other aquatic life.
Another invasive aquatic plant, hydrilla, has become a major threat to local waterways. Managing hydrilla is trickier because it spreads by fragmentation. How the spread of hydrilla will affect our efforts to control water chestnut has not been determined, but we will keep our paddlers informed. Hydrilla is now tangled up with water chestnut, so both plants are removed simultaneously, resulting in a higher volume of plant material to be transported out of the watershed.
The starting point is the canoe and kayak launch adjacent to Middletown’s recycling and transfer station. Here is a link to the location. For information on possible last minute cancellation, check back on this post or call 860-398-3771.
On Arbor Day, April 30, Middletown’s Urban Forestry Commission recognized the contributions of John Hall and the Jonah Center for successful initiatives to fund tree-planting by the Urban Forestry Commission and Public Works Department. A London plane tree will be planted on Main Street in Middletown in honor of John’s service to the community.
The Urban Forestry Commission also honored with new tree plantings: Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz; State Senator Matt Lesser; former State Representative Joseph Serra; State Representative Quentin Phipps; State Representative Brandon Chafee; and Girl Scouts of America Troop 62838 led by Jennifer Tortora, who raised money to plant a tree in the arboretum on Long Lane. Continue reading →
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 →
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.
Over the summer, volunteers contributed about 170 person-hours of labor removing invasive water chestnut from the Floating Meadows between Middletown and Cromwell. It was a huge and heroic effort, especially by those who joined multiple work parties. It was also a fun and gratifying activity. 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.
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.
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.