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Walk — And Talk, If You Please



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It’s spring, and Newtown is on the move. Wherever there are sidewalks or broad roadways, people are afoot.

If you are looking for companionship, “Walk With Dan” (noon to 12:45 pm) was scheduled to step off this Friday, when First Selectman Dan Rosenthal planned to meet with residents at the Municipal Center for the first of several biweekly strolls around campus, through August 30. It is the perfect fit with a statewide initiative to get people moving during the month of May. Not only are residents invited to walk with the First Selectman, they can chat with him about whatever town matters are on their minds. Now that’s a productive lunch hour!

You can’t walk from one end of Newtown to the other — yet — but it won’t be long before long-promised sidewalks link the Fairfield Hills area to South Main Street, all the way up to Glover Avenue. That project will benefit RIS students as well as walkers who want to extend the loop around the Fairfield Hills campus all the way into town.

The future may hold sidewalks extending further up Route 302 from the Pleasance, linking walkers from the town’s center to the “presidential” streets.

Intermittent stretches of sidewalk already allow walkers to traipse from Main Street down Church Hill Road toward Sandy Hook Center. If the Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity has any say, walkers will soon explore the center there on foot. The Heritage Park & Trail proposal will place information kiosks strategically, enlightening people on Sandy Hook’s history while tempting walkers onward.

Don’t forget: among the Newtown Forest Association properties offering off-road walking opportunities is its newest Cherry Grove site on Platts Hill Road and the orchard property on Castle Hill — and Newtown Hikers schedule numerous adventures throughout the year.

Then there is the newly formed Bike & Trail Committee, which has scheduled a trail maintenance workshop and work day for the Al’s Trail system and is reaching out to the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection regarding signage in state parks — a necessity to boost novice hikers’ confidence as they explore our local state land.

(Biking trails are more of a challenge in Newtown. Still, with the right equipment and some street smarts, there are already plenty of scenic roads bicyclists can traverse.) As the Bike and Trails Committee gears up, we are excited to see how new pathways could link our 60-plus square miles of community; meanwhile, recent weekends have found volunteers shaping up the Fruit Trail that winds from Mile Hill Road South to Keating Farms Avenue, popular with walkers at Fairfield Hills. Volunteers have tidied up the gardens along this pathway, allowing users to thoroughly enjoy the beauty of that area.

A rugged trail walk is invigorating, but inside town borders, sidewalks make foot travel a safer bet. We look forward to more miles connecting people to people. May is just the start of pleasant weather; take a hike — in the most positive of ways, that is.

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