Founder’s Walk takes shape: Plans not yet finalized

The Founder’s Walk, a gift from the Milford 375th Committee, will be a graduated walkway next to Milford Harbor where an abandoned road now exists, featuring a veterans memorial wall, seating, landscaping and views of the harbor.

Members of a committee working on Founder’s Walk presented updated plans last week at Milford City Hall, but they are still looking for comments and suggestions.

Pete Smith explained that the need to make the walkway handicap accessible more or less dictated its design. The slope of the area today is rather steep, and Smith pointed to plans that call for several separate stairways that bring pedestrians to several separate seating areas along the way.

The walkway would be concrete, attractive because of the steps and details as well as the natural amenities, like boulders, to set off the area, Smith said.

James Maroney, a former state representative who came up with the idea for a Founder’s Walk, said the walkway will be about 400 feet long and will include a new overlook deck made of composite material to give people a place to stop and look at the water.

The plan creates four new parking spaces in the area between the Milford Public Library and Wilcox Park.

Creation of a Founder’s Walk next to Milford Harbor is aimed at turning the abandoned roadway into a historic landmark and creating an attractive gateway to Milford’s downtown.

Milford’s 375th Anniversary Committee came up with the idea of creating the walkway, which will connect the Memorial Bridge near SBC Restaurant to the Hotchkiss Bridge.

The state has given Milford $300,000 toward the project, and there is another $250,000 in city sidewalk funds for the project. Maroney said there are no cost projections yet.

During a presentation last year, residents got a chance to look at slides of waterfront projects done in other communities, including Seaside Park in Bridgeport and walks in Glastonbury and Hartford. Some of the slides showed sculptures and other artwork and landscaping highlighting pedestrian walkways.

Project organizers have said the idea in Milford will be to bring people closer to the water to enjoy the views. Invasive plants will be removed to offer a better view of the harbor area, and some kind of protective fence will be constructed for safety.

Maroney said the spot where the Hotchkiss Bridge meets the abandoned road is where the founders of Milford landed. So he thinks it’s a great idea to make the spot a bit more attractive.

The committee has been working for two years on the plans, and will meet Nov. 10, and hopes to finalize the plans Dec. 8, before starting the permitting process and holding another public meeting.

Maroney said he anticipates construction will start in April.

Today the area is less than attractive, with concrete slabs, a chain link fence and a metal guardrail. Maroney said those elements will be replaced with more attractive components.

Working on the project are environmental consultant Environmental Planning Services, civil engineers Westcott and Mapes, and landscape architect Richter and Cegan.

Residents who have suggestions can email them to Maroney at