City of New Haven, Save the Sound Receive Grant for Mill River Trail

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NEW HAVEN, CT – The City of New Haven and Save the Sound will continue work on the southernmost stretch of an urban greenway in the Fair Haven neighborhood with the help of a $50,000 award from the Connecticut Urban Green and Community Garden Initiative, which is administered by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The Mill River Trail follows the eponymous river from Criscuolo Park in the southwestern corner of the neighborhood to East Rock Park to its north, providing a connection to nature and green spaces that are otherwise scarce in a historically industrial area of New Haven.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker expressed his excitement for this much-needed funding, “Funding for this open space enhancement project will be provided through the State of Connecticut’s Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition Program that is administered by the DEEP. The Urban Green and Community Garden Initiative ensures that distressed municipalities and targeted investment communities are allowed the opportunity to develop and enhance their open space for public enjoyment and benefit.”

Save the Sound has been working with the City, the John S. Martinez School, Cold Spring School, Mill River Trail Advocates, and other partners on plans to convert an abandoned section of roadway at the intersection of Haven and Exchange Streets into a community green space and a living classroom that will also be part of the trail. The project, which was identified as a priority during the creation of the Mill River Watershed-Based Plan (led by Save the Sound) in 2018, will include the installation of green infrastructure to capture and treat stormwater runoff before it reaches the Mill River. It will also help mitigate flooding issues that currently inundate nearby school fields during heavy rain events. Construction is slated to begin this spring, managed by Save the Sound.

“After years of planning and fundraising, we are so excited to receive this award, start construction, and begin to look at opportunities to connect the trail south,” said Nicole Davis, Watersheds Coordinator for Save the Sound. “CT DEEP has been very supportive of the Mill River Trail project, and these funds will allow us to bring the vision developed in collaboration with nearby schools and other partners to fruition. We appreciate the City’s commitment and partnership in this endeavor and look forward to continuing to work with the Fair Haven community on making this a beautiful, healthy, useful, and well-utilized space.”

Other segments of the trail, which currently winds its way through industrial buildings and moves on and off roadways on its way upriver, have been completed with additional funds contributed or pursued by the City in collaboration with other partners and property owners. They are currently working with the Mill River Trail Advocates on identifying a path past the Amtrak rail line that crosses the Mill River just south of Humphrey Street. The trail is part of a larger, planned vision to connect existing green spaces—and the neighborhoods where they exist—while also restoring safe access and a feeling of connection to local waterways for city residents.

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