One of the greatest assets to the City of Middletown is the linear stretch of land fronting the Connecticut River. The river is highly visible from Route 9 and the eastern side of the downtown. Other than being used by crew teams and an occasional fisherman and being the venue of America's Cup, a popular restaurant and night spot, the land along the river is under-utilized.
Three factors which contribute to the lack of use of the river front are a lack of direct, convenient, and safe pedestrian access from the downtown; a limited amount of parking when America's Cup draws large crowds; and the lack of a variety of activities and special events along the river front which would draw people to the river.
The river has great potential to become a highly desirable setting for active and passive recreational uses. The annual head of the Regatta rowing race and Fourth of July fireworks are excellent examples of special events in the Harbor area which draw thousands of people to the river and the Downtown in general. With suitable pedestrian access, parking problems in the park area could be corrected and the area would provide neighboring residential communities with much needed open space.