Litchfield News

Parking for boardwalk still an issue (02-04-15)

The lack of parking for visitors to the White Memorial Conservation Center boardwalk near the South Lake Street entrance was discussed at the Litchfield Board of Selectmen meeting on Tuesday.

First Selectman Leo Paul Jr. made clear his opposition to parking along South Lake Street or around the triangle formed by the intersection of South Lake Street and White Woods Road for those wanting to walk to the boardwalk.
Selectman Jeff Zullo asked Paul if the decision was his alone. Paul stated his objections to parking near the South Lake Street entrance since it is located in a residential zone. He suggested Planning and Zoning would have to approve use for parking since it was zoned residential. He also had concerns about potential liability to the town if the town authorized the parking areas. Zullo commented to Paul, “The fact is you don’t want it, you made the decision.” None of the other Selectmen commented.
Litchfield Public Works Director Jack Healy was in attendance and said that he had been working with a consultant from UConn’s T2 division to determine options for improving visitor parking to access the boardwalk. They are looking at multiple locations including South Lake Street and Whites Woods Road. Safety, traffic flow, zoning and liability are all being considered.
The former Shepaug Railroad bed near South Lake Street, commonly called the “Ghost Trail,” is also being considered. It is not clear who has jurisdiction of the trail since it runs through the cemetery and borders White Memorial and private property.
It was also suggested that parking might be available on Russell Street past the town garage. Healy indicated the heavy truck traffic by town trucks as a safety issue. Healy anticipates it will be another month before the UConn study is completed.
Town Attorney Michael Rybak provided an update about an agreement between the town and the Litchfield Hills Road Race Committee to designate an area at the entrance to the Plumb Hill Playing Fields near Whites Woods Road as “Road Race Park.” The agreement would hold the town harmless and indemnify the town of negligence with the added provision of liability insurance to be provided by the Litchfield Hills Road Race Committee. The Board of Selectman approved the agreement. It will now require approval at a town meeting.