Both students and adults will soon be able to get their exercise in at Darien High School and the Diller property, since the gift of the construction of a running path received 100 percent approval at the Representative Town Meeting’s session on June 10.
All 91 RTM members who were present at the meeting voted in favor of accepting the gift. None were opposed and there were no abstentions.
The gift — given by the Darien Athletic Foundation — is worth up to $300,000.
This project involves the construction of a cross country running path around the perimeter of Darien High School. The five-foot-wide path would be part of a larger path that includes the adjoining Diller property. This path would include the construction of a walking/cross country path as well as six parallel parking spaces along Nutmeg Lane.
The path will be used for the Darien cross-country track and for one or two competitions per year. It will also be open to town residents.
The Darien Board of Education will manage the usage of the high school portion of the property while the Darien Parks & Recreation Department will manage the Diller property portion.
At the RTM meeting, Adele Conniff, RTM Parks and Recreation Committee chairman, said that over the years, the town has explored multiple uses for the Diller property, “with none found to be feasible.”
“Construction of the cross country running path aligns with the Park and Recreation Master Parks Plan recommendation of expanding walking pathways and trail connectivity to and within parks,” Conniff added.
RTM member Nina Miller said she was concerned about wetlands, since part of the path is being constructed in the flood plain boundary on the Darien High School property. She wanted to know if the EPC (Environmental Protection Commission) was consulted about this.
In response, RTM Finance & Budget Committee Chairman Jack Davis said that the EPC was consulted.
Clara Sartori, chairman of the RTM Education Committee, said the running path will “ensure a safe environment for more than 100 Darien cross country student athletes who will no longer have to practice by running through the town streets where there are no sidewalks.”
Sartori added that the gift will allow the community “to use an otherwise unused area of the Diller property while preserving an area of open space.”