Current phase of Riverwalk project nearing completion

  • The Wilton Riverwalk is closing in on completion of phase three of its extended project, the completion of a trail along the Stony Brook in downtown. Courtesy photo—

  • The Wilton Riverwalk is closing in on completion of phase three of its extended project, the completion of a trail along the Stony Brook in downtown. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/31/2021 10:46:30 AM

The third phase of Wilton’s Riverwalk project – refurbishing the Stony Brook Trail – is nearly complete.

Funding through a grant from AARP, the trail, which was once a walking trail that has long since become overgrown, traveling from Monument Park to the Wilton House of Pizza, is being rebuilt with a permeable surface, and cleared to open new views of the river.

Since 2017, work on the Riverwalk has included renovating Monument Park, and creating a lighted, accessible walkway along the northern bank of the Stony Brook River, with a kiosk.

Jennifer Beck, chair of the town’s Economic Development Leadership Team, said the walk will be officially opened June 12.

“We’re so excited. This is an old walking trail people used way, way back in the day, but no one knows is there, because it’s become so overgrown,” Beck said.

In addition to opening up the trail, the project includes creating new overlooks of the Stony Brook, and fixed some water runoff issues.

“There are new bump-out areas that provide some of the best views of the river,” Beck said. “These are views of our river that no one has seen in decades.”

Though the majority of the phase three will be completed by mid-June, Beck said the Economic Development Team is still working on ways to attract users to the river’s edge, including installing new benches and inviting sculpture artists to donate art either permanently or as a rotating exhibit for people to enjoy on the river walk.

Beck said the Riverwalk is an ongoing project, and that the completion of this phase just means moving on to the next section, including creating paths to the river for fisherman, and the construction of a concert pavilion, and eventually a proposed pedestrian bridge spanning the river to create a full loop around the western section of the Wilton downtown.

It’s a piece of the larger puzzle of attracting people to the Wilton downtown and keeping them there to explore the Main Street shops, Beck said.

That’s an ongoing mission for the Economic Development Team, and one that’s gained traction in the last few years, including in 2020, mid-pandemic, as the former empty storefronts of Main Street have begun to fill in.

“It takes time, some luck and people caring, and putting Wilton on the map, which we’ve been working hard to do, but we filled Main Street during the pandemic,” Beck said. “We’ve been working on this, and some is good fortune, and some people recognizing that Wilton has great bones and great potential, and some advantages over the Peterborough and Milford centers.”

For more information and to view the Riverwalk plans, visit wiltonnh.gov. Maps, illustrations and information are also posted in the Kiosk at the start of the current Riverwalk on Stony Brook, and at Town Hall.

  

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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