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NAUGATUCK RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION

Riverbend Park History Beacon Falls, CT

November 2009 Researched and written by Bob Gregorski

Note: The following information is deemed to be accurate from the sources from which it was gathered. The list of volunteer participants in this project may not be complete. This history may be amended after other information is submitted.

When the idea of creating a park at the riverbend on the Naugatuck River in Beacon Falls was presented to the Naugatuck Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited Board in 1998 by Bob Gregorski -- one of the Chapter founders and the Board endorsed the project. In November 1999, Chapter member Mike Horbal volunteered the services of his land surveying & planning company. The first site plan was drawn in November 1999 with input from River Steward Jonathan Ploski.

Some progress was made, but the Riverbend Park project needed financing and the Town of Beacon Falls needed ownership of the adjoining property owned by O & G Industries. River Stewards Harry White and Robbette Schmidt subsequently worked on the planning aspects of the project with Horbal and Ken Faroni (O &G) through 2004. Little progress was made.

In the fall 2007, the catalyst for the project was $25,000 from Alcoa offered to the Chapter by TU national representative Kirt Mayland. Riverbend was deemed "Shovel ready" by the Chapter Board. The result of the 1/8/08 meeting at the Beacon Falls town offices attended by Chapter president Bob Perrella, Naugatuck River Watershed Association (NRWA) president Bob Gregorski, First Selectman Susan Cable and Ken Faroni was to move forward with the project. Cable and Faroni were to work out the procedure to have O & G donate its Riverbend parcel land to the town. That was necessary before any construction permits could be issued. Gregorski would work with the DEP and pursue getting the required permits.

Gregorski and Don Mysling (a DEP Fisheries Biologist and river projects coordinator) met with Cable, Faroni and the Town's Emergency Service person and considered their input. After studying the site, Mysling and Gregorski agreed to make three major changes to the existing site plan: move the "curb break" to the south end of the property, construct a roadway to the river and add a "breakwater-J-hook" constructed of boulders that were on site.
Note: The multi-purpose use of the roadway use would include: emergency rescue, installing absorption booms in case of a spill on the river, fish stocking and kayak and canoe access.

(Mike Horbal Land Surveying & Planning) donated his company's services to the Chapter and drew up the revised plot plan. Gregorski wrote the project description for submission and Mysling added his comments. Mysling delivered the site plan and paper work to the DEP Water Division in late February. The request included Plan A- with a boulder placement breakwater (J-hook Vane) and Plan B-with out the breakwater.

Shortly there after, Kirt Mayland the TU Director of the Eastern Water Projects took over the project. Project engineer (Ed Leavy PE) was hired.

Then Chapter president Mike Mackniak and vice president Larry Wolff worked to bring the project to completion, which included a park sign, two park benches and dedication ceremony. The benches will be dedicated in memory chapter members Will Mraz and Neil Kingsnorth. The park dedication ceremony was held 5/16/09.

More work may be planned for the park.

Financial Donations
Alcoa -- $25,000
Katharine Matthies Foundation -- $13,000
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter -- $3,000

In-kind Donations
Land Donation from O & G
Land Town of Beacon Falls
Mike Horbal Land Planning & Surveying $8,580

Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter :
Prior to fall 2007--The three river stewards Ploski, White and Schmidt and their supervisors Weber, McDermott and Gregorski, spent 60 hours on the project.
Total: 60 @ $25/hr. = $1,500.

Time spent on the project fall 2007- spring 2009: Bob Gregorski -20 hours,
Mike Mackniak - 20 hours, Larry Wolff -10 hours, Bob Perrella -20 hours and
Bob Nikituck - 4 hours
Total: 74 @ $25/hr. = $1,850

Total: $52,930 does not include the value of the O & G land donation and other donated work.