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Windsor approves trail to Hartford line.

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WINDSOR — — The town council has approved a plan to create a multi-use trail along the Connecticut River that would run from the Barber Street Boat Launch to the Hartford city line.

Construction of the $870,000 project could begin as early as June and include 10-foot-wide walking and cycling trails with access points to the river at Meadow Road and Wilson Avenue.

The trail project will also include an 86-foot-long bridge over Decker's Brook and will link to a bicycle path and trail crossing the Connecticut River along the Bissell Bridge.

Mayor Donald Trinks, who was among the six council members to approve the project last week, said he was impressed by the number of people who don't live in town who spoke in favor of it.

"It's not even built yet and it's drawing interest," Trinks said, adding that the town needs more access to its most valuable natural attractions, the Farmington and Connecticut rivers.

Trinks said he was also in favor of the project because $377,000 in grant money that has been made available by the state Department of Environmental Protection will disappear if the town doesn't act now.

"This money has been allocated," he said. "If we don't take it we lose it now and maybe for good."

Councilman Ronald Eleveld, who was among three members to vote against the project, said he was concerned about the cost, future upkeep and how long it could take Hartford to complete its portion of the trail heading north from downtown.

The department of public works has estimated that annual maintenance costs will be $3,000 to $5,000 a year, with an additional $2,000 every 10 years to seal cracks in the pavement.

Riverfront Recapture, which has been constructing Hartford's trail, still needs to complete 2 to 3 miles of trail to get to the Windsor line.

Town Manager Peter Souza said Wednesday that the town has begun work on the permitting process and permits could be approved by early summer. If construction goes as scheduled, Souza said, he expects the trail to be completed during the 2012 construction season.

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This is actually a really good thing. To have a connection like this that will eventually connect to Downtown and beyond will truly be an asset to the region once its completed. It would be a beautiful place to go biking in the summertime and being able to ride through a park like setting on the river really could draw a lot of people.

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