Londonderry Trailways announced this week that the New Hampshire Department of Resources and Economic Development (DRED), Parks and Recreation Division is awarding it a $100,000 matching funds grant for the Rail Trail’s peat bog section.
The Rail Trail is being built on the abandoned Manchester-Lawrence railway corridor. When all sections are completed, it will be a 6.4 mile multi-use, four season greenway that can be used for walking, biking, cross country skiing and other activities appropriate for a 10-foot linear paved surface.
The Land and Water Conservation grant is funded by the National Park Service, and the money will be used to help pave Section 3 of the Rail Trail, a 1.4 mile parcel beginning at Liberty Drive, just east of Exit 5 of Interstate 93, and continuing to the Londonderry/ Derry town line at Seasons Lane.
Phase 1 of the Rail Trail runs from the Exit 5 Park and Ride parking lot to North Elementary School and will be paved by Nov. 15. That phase is funded by a Town warrant article and individual and corporate donations. Section 2 will run from the Park and Ride to Liberty Drive.
Rail Trail Project Director Bob Rimol said Trailways learned about the grant in March and had until the end of May to put in the application. “I along with Pollyann Winslow went to Concord for a workshop on what was needed for the grant, what questions that needed to be answered,” he said. “The committee actually came out and walked the trail with us to see where the money would be used, and we have three years to utilize the grant monies.”
Rimol said they had a little help from town Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Manager and Comprehensive Planner Jon Vogl, who provided the maps needed for the grant application.
Rimol said the total cost of completing that section of Rail Trail would be approximately $350,000, and added it would be 2015 before that section was started.
“ Opening the peat bog section of the trail will not only provide access to beautiful wooded areas but will also provide access to pristine waterways,” Rimol said. Rimol said that for three years Trailways volunteers have been cleaning up the wetland area in the peat bog section.
“Opening this section brings the Londonderry trail closer to connecting to the Derry and Windham trails,” Rimol said.
The Rail Trail system will eventually connect towns and will become part of the 150-mile Granite State Rail Trail, which will run from Lebanon near the Vermont border to Salem at the Massachusetts border.
Now Trailways must raise matching funds. Anyone interested in supporting the Rail Trail may donate online or find more information at www.londonderrytrailways.org. Checks may be mailed to Londonderry Trailways at P.O. Box 389, Londonderry, NH 03053.
Dr. John Daley will lead a free guided tour of the Rail Trail on Thursday, Aug. 29, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., a chance for people to learn about rail trail expansion plans. Meet at North Elementary School, 19 Sanborn Lane.