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Five-Town Norwalk River Valley Trail Hires New Leader

Charlie Taney, the new executive director of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, with Pat Sesto of Ridgefield, president of the Friends of the NRVT.
Charlie Taney, the new executive director of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, with Pat Sesto of Ridgefield, president of the Friends of the NRVT. Photo Credit: Contributed

NORWALK, Conn. -- Norwalk resident Charlie Taney was recently named executive director of Norwalk River Valley Trail, a projected 38-mile multipurpose pathway that will link Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk with Rogers Park in Danbury and run through Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding as well.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to work with the NRVT team and the five towns to help bring this dream to life," said Taney of his new post. "The environment is my passion, and this is a great way to have an impact right in our own backyard.”

In the nonprofit world, Taney created the Manresa Association in Norwalk, serves on the board of the Norwalk Land Trust and has been active in leadership and fundraising roles with Stamford-based SoundWaters.

His early work with the Norwalk River Valley Trail will focus on meeting with key stakeholders in each community and identifying tasks to support the goals of a five-town steering committee.

A priority is to oversee a $1.2 million grant — from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection — to design and construct the trail from Wolfpit Road in Wilton to Grist Mill Road in Norwalk.

Fundraising for the shovel-ready projects in Wilton and Redding is also high on Taney’s list of objectives.

Pat Sesto of Ridgefield, president of the Friends of the NRVT, said Taney was unanimously selected as the trail’s first executive director “based on the wealth of experience he brings to the project.”

Wilton First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice also noted Taney’s extensive background in environmental causes and his commitment to open space initiatives. “The trail is becoming a wonderful asset for Wilton and we'd love to see more of it completed," she said.

Nowalk Mayor Harry Rilling, who worked with Taney on the Manresa project, said, "Charlie has shown tremendous leadership on the Manresa project and I know he'll bring the same energy and effectiveness to the Norwalk River Valley Trail. I'm looking forward to working with him on this important project.”

And Redding’s First Selectman Julia Pemberton said, “A lot of good work has gone into planning the Redding segments of the NRVT. We look forward to working with the NRVT's new executive director in making these plans a reality."

The Norwalk River Valley Trail is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit overseen by a steering committee of the residents of five towns, led by Norwalk’s Jim Carter, Wilton’s Rob McWilliams, Ridgefield’s Patricia Sesto, Redding’s Stuart Green and Danbury’s Kathy Miville.

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