Author Archives: uvlocalvores

MRG Update and Call for Volunteers

MRG weed-whacking behind Goss Logan

MASCOMA RIVER GREENWAY: UPDATE

JUNE 2017

What an incredible experience it has been working to create the Mascoma River Greenway, a railtrail connecting downtown Lebanon and the Northern Railtrail to West Lebanon. We have come a long way, and, while there is still some distance to go, you supporters should know the latest MRG news.

The construction work was put out to bid this spring and the city has accepted the bid from Willey Earthmoving LLC, a local, Windsor, VT, company. The work should begin in a few weeks and continue until completed. We are pleased to be doing business locally and the bid came in less than expected.

As Willey prepares for constructing, the railroad has been removing the rails from the corridor. They are currently being stacked beside the trail for later pick-up. As the rails go away, the city will be removing the ties so the rail bed is cleared for Willey to move in with their equipment.

When this section is completed it will be paved from the High St. intersection moving west to behind the Miracle Mile, under the Dudley Bridge, and connecting to Glen Road.

This is an exciting next step! Thank you to all our local supporters – contributors, volunteers, and, simply, friends.

As mention above, there is still more to do. There is still the issue of connecting the Northern Railtrail to the MRG. Over the next months the city will be working to provide the best opportunity for that connection to happen. While I, personally, would like to see the tunnel preserved and used, there is an alternative using a trail bridge which would go under the Rte 120 bridge and into the pocket park. A neat concept, too.

There is also connecting the skate park in West Lebanon with the Power House Mall. A path already exists, but can be improved to make it bike/ped friendly. There will be some volunteer work on that section.

There is also volunteer maintenance we can accomplish now. The pocket park by the tunnel and the Mascoma River needs to be trimmed as well as the MRG bridge over the Mascoma at the same site.

After working on the park we can weed-whack some of the trail west of High Street intersection. I’m looking at Wednesday and Thursday, this week and next to get that done. That would be June 21 and 22 and June 28 and 29 beginning at 4pm. If you can come to help, let me know at Go2teach@comcast.net. If you can, bring what tools are needed — weed-whacker, loppers, gloves, other ideas. Hope some of you can make it. We will have some tools there.

Frank Gould, Co-chair Mascoma River Greenway Coalition

Lebanon Seeks Input on Greenway Plans

20151116_162338By Tim Camerato

Valley News Staff Writer

Monday, March 28, 2017

Summer work should allow cyclists, runners and walkers to make use of the 4-mile path that will connect downtown and West Lebanon, said Frank Gould, who is co-chairman of the volunteer group working on the greenway. But the results of a downtown visioning survey could mean the path shares the roads downtown rather than going through a discontinued rail tunnel.

“I personally believe it is not a safe thing to do in the downtown area,” Gould said of possible road-sharing plans. “I think most of my committee agrees with that.”

Gould has been working on the greenway’s construction since leaving the state Legislature about four years ago. The idea’s been kicked around for decades, he said, but it wasn’t until the state offered use of an east-west railroad bed that work could begin.

Working alongside the city’s recreation and parks department, volunteers held workdays along the trail and raised more than $2.3 million for construction and paving.

Gould said their mission is to allow for easier movement between downtown and West Lebanon without having to worry about traffic or main roads. When Lebanon first became a city more than 50 years ago, he said, pedestrians didn’t have any easy options to go between the two neighborhoods, and that’s a challenge the city is still facing today.

“It’s going to tie our community from east to west,” Gould said.

Regardless of what the city decides for downtown, the proposed trail will begin where the Northern Rail Trail ends at Spencer Street. From there, it will follow the railroad bed, cross the Mascoma River several times and will come to an end near Seminary Hill. Paving is slated to begin next year, and the city has committed to plowing one side and will set cross-country ski tracks on the other.

But proposals for Lebanon’s downtown could hamper the greenway’s goal of being a separate space for pedestrians and cyclists. Of three alternative plans, only one allows for use of the rail tunnel.

Lebanon’s visioning study was introduced partially because, in 2014, the tunnel was dilapidated and in need of repairs. A city-owned parking lot above the tunnel was closed that fall and the city signed a contract for more than $300,000 with Massachusetts-based consulting firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin to seek input about the future of downtown.

Working hand-in-hand, consultants and officials hosted a series of community discussions and released an online survey. More than 800 comments were gathered, which allowed the consultants to create three alternatives for downtown.

All three were shown to the public during a February meeting, according to Lebanon Planning and Zoning Director David Brooks. But even with all of the comments, the city still doesn’t feel that there’s a preferred option that most people feel comfortable with, he said.

Brooks said the city put consultants in a “holding pattern” and are asking people to participate in a second survey. He’s also making presentations and giving updates to city boards and businesses.

Gould is hoping that residents will respond to the survey and choose to keep the rail tunnel.

“The tunnel is paramount for safe transit through downtown Lebanon,” he said.

People can find the survey on the city’s website at planning.lebnh.net. Brooks is also scheduled to speak about visioning at 6:30 p.m. tonight at the Planning Board meeting in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Volunteers with the Mascoma River Greenway will also be presenting final construction plans from 5:30 to 7 p.m on April 7 in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.

Lebanon City Council to Discuss Next Steps for Mall Tunnel – April 19, 2017

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The City Council will be talking about investing in tunnel repairs on Wednesday, April 19th at 7pm in Lebanon Council Chambers. Those interested in connecting the Northern Rail Trail to the Mascoma River Greenway via the tunnel might want to attend this meeting.  See “Next Steps for Mall Tunnel Discussion” under New Business below.

LEBANON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING AGENDA
Council Chambers, City Hall
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
7:00pm


7:00PM
CALL TO ORDER: The April 19, 2017 Lebanon City Council Meeting is hereby called to order.

1.PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
2.PUBLIC FORUM ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE MAYOR
Any member of the public who desires to speak on any item may do so when the item is taken up by the Council and will be allowed to speak on the subject for not more than three minutes. (Note:  Speakers are asked to state their name, ward of residence, and to use the microphone provided.)
3.OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
4.RESOLUTIONS
5.ACCEPTANCE OF MINUTES
A.Minutes For Approval:
  • March 23, 2017 (Recount Meeting)
  • March 29, 2017 (Organizational Meeting)
  • April 5, 2017 (Regular Meeting)
6.APPOINTMENTS
A.Board/Commission Appointments:
  • Planning Board: Gregory Schwarz (Reappointment as Regular Member)
  • Licensing Board: Stephen Allen (Regular Citizen Member)
  • Conservation Commission: Ernst Oidtmann (Reappointment as Regular Member)
7.PUBLIC HEARING ITEMS
  A. ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS
Public Hearing for the purpose of receiving public input and taking action to amend Section 608, Signs, of the Lebanon Zoning Ordinance.
i. Presentation:
ii. Opening of the Public Hearing:
iii. Questions & Comments by the Public:
iv. Closing of the Public Hearing:
v. Council Deliberation & Action:
   B. ORDINANCE #2017-01
CHAPTER 117, PASSENGER VEHICLES FOR HIRE – Public Hearing for the purpose of receiving public input and taking action on proposed Ordinance #2017-01 to amend the City Code to repeal existing Chapter 157, Taxicabs and replace with New Chapter 117, Passenger Vehicles for Hire.
i. Presentation:
ii. Opening of the Public Hearing
iii. Questions & Comments by the Public:
iv. Closing of the Public Hearing:
v. Council Deliberation & Action:
   C. COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION TAX RELIEF APPLICATION:
DANA SEGUIN, 4 SOUTH PARK STREET – Public Hearing for the purpose of receiving public input and taking action on a request by Dana Seguin for a two-year extension on his March 16, 2016 approval for tax relief under the provisions of the Community Revitalization Tax Relief Incentive Program (NH RSA 79-E).
i. Presentation:
ii. Opening of the Public Hearing:
iii. Questions & Comments by the Public:
iv. Closing of the Public Hearing:
v. Council Deliberation & Action:
8. OLD BUSINESS (NONE)
9. NEW BUSINESS
   A. 20 SPENCER STREET
Discussion with Michael Davidson re: Potential Purchase of City Owned Land at 20 Spencer Street, Lebanon
   B. MALL TUNNEL
Discussion of Future Use and Next Steps for Mall Tunnel
10. REPORTS
  A. City Manager
  B. Council Representatives To Other Bodies
11. FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS
12.NON-PUBLIC SESSION
13.ADJOURN

Any person with a disability who wishes to attend this public meeting and needs additional accommodations, please contact the ADA coordinator at City Hall by calling 603-448-4220 at least 72 hours in advance so that the City can make any necessary arrangements.

The agenda, in its entirety, is available on the City’s website at www.LebanonNH.gov. Copies can be obtained at the City Manager’s Office and are available on the Monday prior to the scheduled council meeting.

CATV CHANNEL 8 BROADCASTS CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS AT 8:00PM ON THE NIGHT FOLLOWING THE MEETING.  THESE MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE VIA CATV’S WEBSITE (WWW.CATV8.ORG) FOR VIEWING BY 5:00PM THE DAY FOLLOWING THE MEETING. CATV ALSO BROADCASTS THE LEBANON PLANNING BOARD AND SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS. CONSULT THE WEBSITE FOR DETAILS.

Thanks to “Pennies for Change”

Thanks to generous Co-op customers and the Pennies for Change program,  the Mascoma River Greenway has received $2,446 from the Co-op Food Stores.  The Pennies for Change program is a charitable giving program; customers can donate their change to community organizations by rounding up their order to the next full dollar amount. In the month of March, $24,446 was raised and donated to that month’s selected Upper Valley non-profits. A wonderful way to support and strengthen our many local non-profit organizations.

 

Leb Rec Dept. 2015 Volunteer of the Year

 

mrgplaques2

Richard Wallace, Lorraine Kelly, Frank Gould, Pat McGovern, Melanie Moore, Alan Schnur

The MRG Capital Campaign Team was honored to be chosen collectively as the Lebanon Recreation & Parks Department 2015 Volunteer of the Year. Thanks to community response, the MRG Capital Campaign is at 99% of the $2,300,000 goal.

Update from MRG Co-Chair Frank Gould

Congratulations Dave!!!

On August 25th at the Lebanon Farmers Market, the winning ticket was drawn for the bicycle raffle. David Boisvert was the winner. He was notified and picked up the bike at Omer and Bob’s the next day. Thank you to Omer and Bob’s for their support of the MRG with the bicycle donation.

And special thanks to each of you who bought tickets for the raffle, the enthusiasm was incredible. The Raffle raised $4787, minus printing expenses, for the Mascoma River Greenway!!!

On another note: there are tee-shirts and fleece available for those who wish to further support the MRG. Designed and produced by Top Stitch of Lebanon, there is an inventory available at the Recreation and Parks Office at City Hall, or they can be ordered directly from Top Stitch.

http://store.topstitchinc.com/Mascoma_River_Greenway

Other news for the construction of the Greenway:
Another special thanks to all those who have donated to the project, both those who donated time and effort, and those who made financial contributions. We have roughly $1,000,000 in the bank for the MRG. Final engineering and design estimates have increased construction costs to $1,840,000, so we are still short on cash. There will be a CIP request included in the City budget for next year to cover the increases. Of course, any further contributions from the community will be greatly appreciated.

We have completed our efforts to remove the spikes from the rails and ties on the section behind the Miracle Mile. Don’t try to run a train on that section.

The city is in the process of scheduling a rail company to remove the rails this fall. The ties will also be removed once the rails are out. That will allow the process of completing the section for bike/ped use to begin next spring with completion from High Street to the Dudley Bridge on the Miracle Mile in 2017.

The railing along the bridge which crosses I-89 has been completed. While the trail is not officially open there are people walking along it. The railing makes that space safer.

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Completed fencing on I-89 bridge

The tunnel which passes under the Lebanon Mall and parking lot is still under discussion, as is the whole “revisioning plan” for the Lebanon downtown area. That leaves questions about the completion of the MRG at both the Lebanon and West Lebanon end of the trail connecting to the Northern Rail Trail in Lebanon, and to Route 12A and West Lebanon downtown.

Thank you for your continued interest in the MRG. I hope to see you enjoying the trail in 2017

Frank Gould, Co-chair Mascoma River Greenway Coalition.

Lucky Dave!

Spescialized-Stumpjumper-6fattie-2016

The winning ticket for the MRG bike raffle was drawn last night. The lucky winner of the bike was Dave Boisvert.  Thanks to Omer & Bob’s and to Richard Wallace for the donation of this great prize! Dave, we hope it won’t be long before you can ride this beauty on the MRG!