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From Trash To Treasure: Closed Hartford Landfill Offers Intriguing Prospects

Hartford Courant

March 23, 2009

The closing of the regional landfill in Hartford's North Meadows opens up new horizons for passive recreation at the site.

The quasi-public trash agency, the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, welcomed its last truckload of trash to the 96-acre site Dec. 31 and will cap the landfill with layers of impermeable plastic, sand, soil and vegetation by 2011. The city will appoint a committee to consider a plan for the landfill's next chapter.

There's no shortage of ideas. The 138-foot-high landfill along the western bank of the Connecticut River affords commanding views of the region and is a natural for new hiking trails. For years, bird watchers have perched there to conduct their annual counts of migratory species.

There's also talk of generating "green" electricity at the landfill by installing solar panels along its flanks. Experts in recreation say the landfill could become a source of revenue for the city as a commercial ski area, driving range or water park.

How about a riverfront bike trail? Windsor has funding for a bike trail from the Bissell Bridge (which carries I-291 over the Connecticut River) south to the border with Hartford. The city could pick up that trail by extending an access road that would link to Riverside Park. The trail could enable people to commute to downtown via bicycle from Windsor and other nearby towns.

By soliciting proposals for the landfill, city officials can tap into some creative and relatively inexpensive ideas for turning a longtime liability into a genuine asset.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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