The Mascoma River Greenway

new york bike path, pavedThe Mascoma River Greenway (MRG) will be a 4 mile multi-use pathway starting from the Northern Rail Trail at Spencer Street in downtown Lebanon to Westboro Rail Yard in West Lebanon, extending the Northern Rail Trail from its beginning in southern NH to the Vermont border. The MRG will be the core transportation corridor for bikes and pedestrians through the heart of Lebanon and West Lebanon, connecting Lebanon’s neighborhoods with workplaces, schools, open spaces, shopping areas, a medical center and transit stops.

What’s happening with the MRG . . . and why can’t I use the trail yet?

MRG-Map-Simplified
What’s happening with the Mascoma River Greenway . . . and why can’t I use the trail yet?!

The MRG is an ambitious project involving negotiation with the City of Lebanon, NH Dept of Transportation (NHDOT), the Claremont Concord Railroad (CCRR), and the federal government.

Currently, the City of Lebanon has rights up to Mile Marker 140, which is at the eastern side of the bridge over the Mascoma River, near Timken. Through the efforts of countless volunteers, the trail has been cleared of trees, brush, ties, and tracks to Mile Marker 140, with tracks and ties moved to the side awaiting removal.

* The NHDOT has recently signed off on the paperwork relative to the abandonment of the final section of the rail corridor to Route 4 at the Miracle Mile. The railroad still has to sign-off, and has seemed reluctant to do so. The NHDOT has agreed to be the contact with the CCRR. With CCRR approval, the paperwork will be sent to Washington for federal approval.

* The tunnel under the mall in Lebanon, part of the planned MRG route, is deteriorating from water and salt damage and has been closed for safety reasons. We hope the MRG will be able to use a reconstructed tunnel for connecting east and west, but if not, we are looking at alternatives. (MRG funding will not be used to reconstruct the tunnel.)

* Once the Greenway has reached RT 4 on the Miracle Mile, it will connect with a ped/bike path included in the design of the Iron Horse Park, the site of the former Twin State Sand and Gravel Company. This path would connect the MRG from Glen Road to Elm Street West, and then on into downtown West Lebanon.

In the meantime, the MRG is open for exploration from the intersection of Mechanic, Mascoma, and High Street to the Slayon Hill Bridge. Guard rails are planned for that bridge this Fall.

There are still tons of ties to be moved to the landfill. We will be scheduling workdays to remove them. Might you have a one-ton dump truck for us to use? DPW vehicles are in use during the week. Let Frank Gould go2teach@comcast.net know if you can donate use of a dump truck!

Next Step: Guard Rails on I-89 Bridge

I-89 Bridge

A bid has been accepted for installing higher guard rails along the Interstate 89 Bridge. The work is expected to be accomplished this fall.

September Work Days

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In September, there were two work days hefting ties into a dump truck bound for the Lebanon Landfill. The Upper Valley Trails Alliance organized a group of high school students to provide the lifting. They were all young women who worked hard. One was heard to say “I’m glad I’m not out here with a bunch of boys telling me how much better they are than I am.” They did wonderful work!

On September 8th, another group loaded several truckloads of ties and then pulled about 100 yards of ties out of the weeds and onto the railbed. Later, a group of Dartmouth freshmen arrived and lifted those ties and others into trucks. The afternoon crew was organized by UVTA through the Granite United Way’s Day of Caring. Thank you to everyone involved!

Thank You Timken!

MRGTimkenDonation
August 28th, prior to Lebanon’s End-of-Summer fireworks, Timken plant manager, Bob Bauman, and colleagues Melanie Huston and Steve Arenburg, joined MRG leaders on the Lebanon Mall to present the Greenway with a check for $352,900. Thank you Timken Aerospace Foundation in Canton, Ohio, and your community-minded foundation!

Trail Clearing Continues!

A team of young women, interns through the Upper Valley Trails Alliance, volunteered to help clear ties from the trail. Heavy work (ties weigh between 160-200 pounds) -  well done! 

Then along came a spider . . . yikes!

There will be another Work Day on September 8th, continuing the job of hauling ties to the landfill.  We will publicize time and meeting place as that day approaches.

Downtown Bridge Decking Accomplished!

Though hot and humid this past weekend, major work was accomplished on the MRG bridge near Mechanic/Mascoma/High St Junction (known as Dysfunction Junction.) Ties were secured to the metal bridge and decking added to create a platform for benches and picnic tables . . . a place to rest, to watch the river and hear the flow.

Securing the ties

Securing the ties


Laying down the decking

Laying down the decking

Not work for the faint of heart!

Not work for the faint of heart!

The MRG Coalition wants to thank all who volunteered: Wes Leuthauser, Timm DuMoulin, JoAnn DuMoulin, Matt Alexander, Kristen Coats, Paul Coats, Doug, Polly Gould, Frank Gould, Todd Caruso, Jose Brandon, Russ Macedo, Andrew Gast-Bray, Ric Desharnais, Danny Micka, Joe Cheevers, and Rowan Gast-Bray. These photos don’t do justice to the scope of the work – all day Saturday until 6pm, and again on Sunday from noon to 9pm. Thanks to all who came to help.

Our new park is not yet ready for the public; railing must be added to the upriver side of the bridge. We’ll let you know when that work is completed.

Decking job done!

Decking job done!

The MRG is continuing to have house parties to raise funds needed as we move down the trail to West Lebanon. We have raised $1.6 million dollars. A 4 to 1 matching pledge challenges us to raise $50,000 from individuals in order to qualify for the $200,000 match. We can use your help through contributions and also by hosting a house party for your neighbors. Co-Chairs Paul and Frank will join you for the evening to inform your friends and neighbors about the MRG.
Please contact ltompkinskelly@gmail.com to set up a time for your house party.

Are you aware that 52% of residences in Lebanon are within a half mile of the Northern Rail Trail and the MRG? An easily-accessed resource for so many!

Looking for a few skilled carpenters, hosts for Greenway House Parties . . . and financial support!

House Party Hosted By Rainie and Larry Kelly

Neighborhood house party hosted by Rainie and Larry Kelly

Summer has arrived and the Northern Rail Trail is a popular place with folks on foot and on bikes. It is time to complete the final four miles of trail into West Lebanon. It’s been three years since the Mascoma River Greenway Coalition started work on the project: We have raised $1,600,000 toward our goal of $2.2 million — remarkable support. Thank you to all who have given donations, grants, in-kind work, and pledges.

Two weeks ago, we opened our fundraising campaign to the community as a whole, celebrating with a kick-off in Colburn Park on June 7th, and a guided walk down the trail. In the days prior to the walk, rails and ties along the trail were moved aside. We were excited to have many of you join us on that day.

We have planned and enjoyed presenting at neighborhood house parties to promote the Greenway, increasing community awareness and building a base of support. Those at the parties have been generous with their suggestions, time, and pocketbooks. Thank you to all who have donated.

We are seeking others who would host a neighborhood gathering in support of the Greenway. Please contact Rainie Kelly ltompkinskelly@gmail.com to set up such an event. Paul Coats and I would love to come out to spread our personal enthusiasm for the project, and watch our neighbors’ faces light-up.

As we begin decking and railing work on the Greenway bridges, we need volunteers with experience in carpentry to assure safe work and construction. If you have experience in carpentry and can donate the time and energy, please contact Paul Coats at paul.coats@lebcity.com We are working on the downtown bridge this Friday morning June 27th and most of the day Saturday, perhaps Sunday if necessary. We need 6 qualified volunteers. Thank you for considering.

I would like to offer special thanks for those who have worked on the opening of our public fundraising campaign. Those include: The Guys Band, Tuck Rock DoJo, Donn Cann, Gail Wasson, Laurie Harding, Rainie Kelly, Upper Valley Trails Alliance, Timken, Hypertherm, Geokon, and all the friends who showed up to pull spikes, share stories, escort on the walk, and clear brush. And especially those who brought their checkbooks. You are all incredible.

Frank Gould, Co-chair: Mascoma River Greenway Coalition

Downtown bridge slated for new rails and decking

Downtown bridge slated for new rails and decking