The Town Council recently heard a proposal from President Paul M. Rodrigues to investigate expanding the walking trails at Paradise Valley Park.
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NEW PARADISE VALLEY PARK TRAILS ON THE WAY?
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (SEPT. 15, 2021) – The trail system at Paradise Valley Park might be expanding.
During a recent meeting, Town Council President Paul M. Rodrigues broached the idea, especially in light of how popular the existing half-mile trail network is in the 15-acre Town park at the corner of Paradise and Prospect avenues.
After some discussion, council members said they liked the idea, saying they’d like to see Town officials investigate the future use of the seven-acre vacant site just west of Paradise Valley Park featuring Boyd’s Windmill and the one-room Paradise Schoolhouse.
“That park is used tremendously and it’s beautiful…” Rodrigues said. “(The abutting Town owned land) is just sitting vacant and why not expand the trails in that park and give people more use for the park?”
In recent years, local leaders have placed a significant importance on growing its network of open spaces and natural trails to improve the quality of life of residents and visitors while helping Middletown maintain its natural beauty.
Combined with a concerted effort to expand the number of sidewalks, they have said their hope is to help make the entire Town more walkable too, a move that has numerous health and environmental benefits. The Town’s Planning Department has a remote meeting scheduled for Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. about a proposal for new sidewalks on Purgatory Road. For more information, visit https://mdl.town/Sidewalk online.
Much of this work has been accomplished through grants and community partnerships, meaning local taxpayers pay little – or none – of the project costs.
Rodrigues suggested the Town look into whether there are grants and similar available to pay for the new trail network. He also said it would be important there be robust buffers in place to shield neighbors from the new trails, should they be put in by the Town.
The Town purchased the property next to the park in August 2006 from the Diocese of Providence. It has sat unused and overgrown by brush and shrubs since.
Council members said they like the idea of looking into the new trails and hearing the options. Councilman Dennis Turano said it was important to get the volunteer Open Space & Fields Committee involved in the process.
“I’m all for more open space access,” council Vice President Thomas Welch III said.
“I think anything that is going to expand our recreational capabilities and abilities is a good thing for the residents of Middletown,” Councilman Christopher Logan said. “And it may even bring some visitors who want to stroll through our lovely park.”
Town Administrator Shawn J. Brown said there were several options from more natural trails to those supported by grants that could be more expansive.
“You don’t necessarily need to build lush grass trails through there,” Brown said. “You could build a trail more like Albro Woods, where it’s more of a rustic trail. I think there are ways to expand the trail network without a significant investment.”