Mondo Ponds Nature Preserve Trail gets face-lift
MILFORD >> City and Subway officials unveiled the newly restored Mondo Ponds Nature Preserve Trail on Monday, followed by a hike through the lush greenery now paved with wood chips.
Mondo Ponds, composed of 36 acres, about one mile of trails and five ponds, was bought by the city from the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority in 1986.
“It’s a good example of a good decision in the past,” Steve Johnson, the city’s open space and natural resources coordinator, said of the city’s decision to buy the parcel. The ponds are home to nearly 180 species of birds and much wildlife, Johnson said. The official trail dedication recognized the collaboration with Subway, which widened the path, cleared brush and trees, and lined the path with wood chips. The path is behind Subway World Headquarters on Bic Drive. Special guests were Joseph and Sylvio Mondo of Orange. Joseph Mondo’s father, Rocco Mondo, owned Rocco Mondo and Sons Excavating, and they dug gravel from the site beginning just after World War II, creating the ponds. In the 1950s, much of that excavated material was used to build schools in Milford, including John F. Kennedy School, which borders the trail, as well as to construct portions of Interstate 95. Joseph Mondo said the area, owned by the water authority for years, just came to be known as Mondo Ponds because of his family’s work there, and the name stuck.
Mondo, who worked there for his father, said when they first excavated there was some water in the bed because it had once been a reservoir. When the area, no longer used as a reservoir, was dug, they opened the dams and the ponds filled.
Subway President and CEO Suzanne Greco said it’s great to have the trail behind Subway, which is glad to help with restoration because nature, and especially ponds, have a “special place in my heart.”
Greco said she has a pond in her backyard.
“This is an amazingly beautiful backdrop,” she said, referring to the wooded area behind Subway headquarters. Visitors from around the world marvel at the beauty, she said.
Mayor Benjamin G. Blake, who said he considers Subway a premier corporate citizen, said much of his childhood was spent hiking because his grandfather’s work involved trails nationwide.