Groton Riverwalk

The Planning and Economic Development Department is excited to announce a collaboration between the City of Groton, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s Department of Engineering, and Design Ed 4 Resilience. The City’s Economic Development Specialist, Cierra Patrick, is thrilled to spearhead the City’s participation in this local academic exercise. This capstone project provides an opportunity for select cadets to experience working with the City of Groton on a civil engineering project that incorporates aspects of structural, geotechnical, and environmental engineering, as well as important aspects of community outreach and evaluation of input, including social and economic discovery and impact.

*Disclaimer: this work is for academic purposes only.  Any research, recommendations, or work done by the cadets does not reflect an official endorsement by the U.S. Coast Guard. Nor do the deliverables represent a completed design that can be provided to a contractor for construction. All completed work submitted by cadets will be reviewed  by City of Groton officials and Professional Engineers licensed in the State of CT before proceeding with any potential recommendations.


This webpage serves as the main source for project updates and ongoing community engagements. Ms. Patrick  looks forward to facilitating an inclusive dialog resulting in a shared vision for a  Groton Riverwalk.

The City continues to implement goals established in the 2019 Plan of Conservation and Development. This capstone project will explore the following:

  • 2019 Plan of Conservation and Development recommends:
    • Section 2.1: Strength and Enhance Thames Street: Enhancing the public’s access to and from coastal areas while assessing opportunities to create a “Riverwalk” along Thames River, north of Electric Boat;
    • Section 6.1 Prepare for Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: Using stakeholder input to conduct a thorough vulnerability assessment of coastal flood and erosion protections.
  • 2019 Thames Street Promenade Report recommends enhancing the waterfront as an amenity that serves as a driver for neighborhood revitalization.


The City’s objective is to engage community stakeholders in designing a system of walkways and public gathering spaces along the Thames River. The walkways will connect community assets, businesses, and recreational amenities.  Through the use of online surveys, design workshops, and site visits. City stakeholders will  help identify improvements that enhance the waterfront’s natural beauty, spur economic development, and result in a great coastal public amenity.

The City of Groton has a breathtaking waterfront, yet so much potential remains untapped.

The Groton Riverwalk will study:

Phase 1 Design

  • The feasibility of providing greater access to the Thames River waterfront;
  • Improving walkability and safety along Thames Street;
  • Enhancing recreation and gathering spaces;
  • Coastal resiliency tools that mitigate flooding and coastal erosion with: retaining walls, storm water management best practices, and added vegetation.

A Riverwalk is a pathway alongside a river, providing space for outdoor activity; a system of walkways and sidewalks connecting community assets, businesses, and recreational amenities.

The City of Groton is using a collaborative design approach to improve public waterfront access.  Designs will honor private property owners use of waterfront parcels and follow CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection standards to assess potential impacts to the Thames River ecosystem.

A Riverwalk structure is a pathway alongside a river, as opposed to a Boardwalk structure which is an elevated walkway over a body of water. The City of Groton will review public waterfront access points starting at the northern tip of Thames Street moving south to the Thames River Heritage Park and Thames View Park.

Project Development
Mapping & Graphics
Site Visit(s)
Community Outreach & Data Collection
Conceptual Riverwalk Design
Final Report

Inspiration and imagination feed the ideas for a Groton Riverwalk. Some of the images we looked at are:

  • New London Waterfront Park
  • Boston Freedom Trail
  • Cincinnati, Smale Riverfront Park is one of three parks connected by pedestrians pathways, spread out along the north bank of the Ohio River.
  • Hudson Riverwalk
  • Wilmington Riverwalk
  • Chicago Riverwalk
  • Nashville Riverfront Park
  • San Antonito Riverwalk
  • Tampa Riverwalk
  • Chattanooga Riverwalk

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