Hooray! Another step forward!

hoorayAnother hurdle has been cleared: the federal government has signed off on the official Abandonment and Discontinuation of the remaining section of railroad tracks from Mile Marker 140 to Glen Road. Thanks to the offices of Schuster, Buttrey & Wing for their efforts in preparing the 7 pounds of legal documents required!

Good News!

good_news_1The Mascoma River Greenway is the top vote-getter in the Dan & Whit’s election with a total of $5,000 donated on behalf of the MRG!

Posting the news on the Lebanon Discussion List, MRG Campaign Steering Committee member Lorraine Kelly writes: “Sincere thanks to Dan Fraser ​at Dan & Whit’s General Store in Norwich ​for organizing the only election I know where all contenders were winners. And on behalf of the Mascoma River Greenway Campaign Committee, thanks to all who cast votes at Dan & Whit’s for the MRG, enabling us to “win” this election. We are looking forward to sharing the podium at a celebration on the Vermont side of the river with Windsor County Partners and the Hartford-Norwich Holiday Basket Helpers .

March was a banner month for the Greenway campaign: in addition to the good news coming from Dan & Whit’s, we reached our goal of $50,000 needed to receive a $200,000 challenge grant from the Jane Kitchel McLaughlin Foundation. Thank you, Mrs. McLaughlin, and thanks to our generous supporters from ​all over the Upper Valley. We have now surpassed 80% of the funds needed to make this 4-mile ​extension of the Northern Rail Trail a reality.”

Granite State Rail Trails

GSRT map

As we develop our MRG pathway connecting Lebanon and West Lebanon, it is good to be aware that we are also helping to expand the vision of a Granite State Rail Trail system.  Communities all over NH are developing trails for recreation and as commuting corridors. Currently, one can travel 58 miles from Lebanon to Boscawen on the Northern Rail Trail. One reviewer wrote: “Last Sunday my husband and I drove to Lebanon to pick up the trail on our bikes for the first time. We rode from Lebanon to Orange (30miles) roundtrip. We set this as a goal . We could not believe how wonderful it was . Riding around the lake was such a gift. The smells of the pines, the waterfalls and the river were just terrific. . . It was one of my most favorite biking days I have ever had.” Trail Link has good specific info on sights and facilities.  For more info on some of these other rail trail efforts see http://www.bwanh.org/Rail%20Trails/RAIL%20TRAILS%20INDEX.htm

Winter Dreams!

RainieImagine the sunny winter day when we are able to cross-country ski on the MRG from Riverside Park in West Lebanon all the way into downtown Lebanon . . . maybe have lunch at Three Tomatoes, or Salt hill or the Lebanon Diner or Village Pizza, and then ski back to West Lebanon. Or we could snowshoe from downtown Lebanon over to Lui Lui at the Powerhouse, working up an appetite on the way. If all goes as planned, Glen Road will look quite different; it will have been replaced by Iron Horse Park Road. Glen Road will be, predominantly, a trail for bikers, walkers, joggers . . . and, in winter, groomed for those on snowshoes and cross-country skis. Whether used for commuting or for recreation, the Mascoma River Greenway will bring new options and vitality to our city.

MRG Progress Report – Yea! We’re getting there!

The Goal of the Mascoma River Greenway Campaign is to raise 2.2 million dollars to create a 4 mile multi-use pathway connecting the terminus of the Northern Rail Trail in Lebanon to West Lebanon and Vermont. How are we doing?
Mascoma River Greenway CAmpaign Update

We have included the Jane Kitchell McLaughlin Foundation $200,000 in this tally; it requires a $50,000 match in new individual donations – we are still $2,500 short of that match and hope to close that gap soon. Having closed that gap,  we will have raised $1,869,278 and will need $330,722 to complete the fundraising campaign . . . we’re hoping by the end of this year.

Volunteer labor donated has been outstanding, with at least 155 hard-working people offering sweat equity. There have also been a number of friends of the MRG who have opened their homes for informative house party presentations by our co-chairs Paul Coats and Frank Gould. Legal services have been donated as well. Thanks to all of you who have contributed time and money to help achieve the dream of the MRG!

What are the next steps? Projects for 2015 include:

* Installing fencing on the I-89 Bridge – Spring 2015

* Final railing on the downtown Lebanon bridge/platform over the Mascoma River –   Summer 2015

* Railings built on Slayton Hill Road overpass – Summer 2015

* APD parking lot connector path – Fall 2015 (grant pending)

* Continuing to remove old railroad ties – ongoing

* Approval of Abandonment and Discontinuation of the remainder of the   corridor –  Summer 2015

* Engineering and Design (bridges, accesses to trail, drainage, wetland areas and permitting, grading and surfacing, connection to Glen Road, paving program, bid documents, etc.)  – Winter 2015

If you would like to help close out the campaign, you can “vote” at Dan Whit’s or send us a check. The Upper Valley Trails Alliance is the fiscal agent for the Mascoma River Greenway Coalition. To make a tax-deductible donation send checks, made out to UVTA with Mascoma River Greenway in the memo line to:

Upper Valley Trails Alliance
PO Box 1215
Norwich, VT 05055

or make an online donation via our secure website, click here.

Thanks to all who have donated their hard labor!

The Upper Valley is a generous community when it comes to volunteering: as of today, 155 different people have donated their labor.  They have cut brush, felled saplings, whacked weeds, pulled spikes, pried rails, and hefted ties. They have  repaired and expanded a bridge, created paths, and built a kiosk  . .  . that’s a  lot of sweat equity!  Thanks to all who have worked so hard toward making the Mascoma River Greenway dream a reality.

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MRGRail1

Vote for MRG!

 

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Dan Fraser of Dan & Whit’s in Norwich Vt is running an election; customers are encouraged to vote with their dollars . . .  for local non-profits. It’s Dan’s way of knowing customer preferences and planning D&W’s future fund-raising activities: “Imagine if politicians spent all their hundreds, thousands and millions of campaign dollars on something that would help people, solve some issues and improve the quality of life for others. Would you vote and support that?” writes Dan. “Votes are $1.00 each. Cash is fine, or if you want to vote “big” and really tell us who you love – write a check made out to the organization.”

So, next time you’re at Dan & Whit’s, vote for Mascoma River Greenway!  Make your check out to Upper Valley Trail Alliance (our fiscal partner) with MRG on the memo line. (Right now, Mascoma River Greenway is the top vote getter!)