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New Dune Crossings Coming To Walnut Beach

After eight years of work, Joe Garbus, Bob Gregory and Steve Wing are bringing modified dune crossings to Walnut Beach, improving accessibility for wheelchairs and making the new crossings state-of-the-art.

A lot of people take pride in being a Milford citizen, but Joe Garbus' love for the city is thoroughly infectious.

The Russia-born Garbus has been a citizen of Milford since the 1980s. Walking along the boardwalk at Walnut Beach Thursday afternoon, Garbus greeted everyone he saw, asking about their day and checking to see how they were enjoying the beach.

For nearly twenty years, Garbus has been President of the , working on projects from the ground up, including . In 1992, when former Mayor Fred Lisman first got to know Garbus, he affectionately nicknamed him “The Pitbull.” As Garbus explains, Lisman could see that he was determined to make Walnut Beach the best it could be.

Along with Bob Gregory, Director of Economic and Community Development, and landscape architect Stephen Wing, Garbus has worked hard to help acquire funds for the modification of existing dune crossings at the beach. These updates will make the crossings wheelchair accessible, state-of-the-art, and easy for everyone to use.

The funds for the improvements to the beach were first requested eight years ago with the help of former State Senator Win Smith Jr. and former Representative Jim Amann as part of a million dollar grant.

“We had the money in place,” Garbus said, but when a funds shortage befell Connecticut, the money meant for Walnut Beach was given back to the State’s general fund.

Garbus credits former Gov. M. Jodi Rell with getting the project back on track. “The next day,” Garbus explained, "Rell said, ‘They’ve already been approved. Give it back.’” The money was swiftly reallocated for Walnut Beach.

“I’m very proud of the fact we have the federal government, the city, the state, and Walnut Beach all working together. Do you ever hear of that?” Garbus asked with pride.

Plans are in motion for the construction of the dune crossings to begin in early May to be finished by June, just in time for the summer beach season.

Showing no sign of slowing down, Garbus has many other plans for improvements to Walnut Beach. When discussing the twenty years of service he has volunteered to the City of Milford (for which he is commemorated in a plaque at the beach), Garbus shrugs off his great efforts and accomplishments: “If it comes from your heart and your mind,” he says, “then the third part — whatever you want to call that — that comes into place.”

Kimberly Bates McCarl April 04, 2012 at 11:57 AM
I love the Walnut Beach Board Walk. Improving wheel chair accessibility to the area will be greatly appreciated by so many in our community.
Harold Maddux April 04, 2012 at 12:05 PM
I am so grateful that we have people like this in our city to make it what it is. These men and the association as a whole are doing so amazing things and played a huge role in my decision to move to Milford. I hope that anyone visiting that area does the right thing and cleans up after themselves, their pets and calls out people who are littering. It is upsetting to see so many out of towners rolling into the park in their tinted out Hondas tossing burrito bags all over the beach and parking lot. Don't be afraid to ask them to pick up their trash. Also, if you see a garbage overflowing call Public Works and USE ANOTHER GARBAGE CAN (don't be lazy).
Charles Esposito April 04, 2012 at 03:43 PM
We love living here and what the town has done. But what can we do about all the pets making a mess of our beautiful walk way. There is not enough signs posted about pets and bikes on the walk way. What can we do to improve this? There should be a fine for pets, I think that will help.
Cheryl Barker April 04, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I agree about the pet mess on the walkway. I'd love to bring my dogs to a beach anywhere in CT, but because of inconsiderate pet owners, CT is a state with zero beaches that allow dogs. If pet owners were considerate we'd be allowed more places.
30yearsLFO April 04, 2012 at 05:12 PM
The people that bring pets to the beach/boardwalk also are taxpayers in the city/state & federal government. And it that regard should be allowed to use the areas. They should be responsible for cleaning up after their pets! As far as making a mess goes, between the people that spray paint and leave their garbage do more to harm the area, as there are more of them.
jl April 05, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Yes it nice to see the continued good works being accomplished at walnut. I'm proud to say my eagle scout was planting the dune grass, which the walkways cross. When we planted the grass in 1992 the walkways were about 4ft from the ground. The preservation of a Milford treasure for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. Thank you
annoying pet owners April 23, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Ignorant people who ignore signs pay their taxes too. Pet and vandalism fines exist for a reason. Keep your pets home.

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