Looking eastward under Hanover Street bridge toward the downtown Mall
Though it will be many months before the work is completed, it’s encouraging to see progress toward connecting the Mascoma River Greenway to the Northern Rail Trail via the tunnel. The Mall parking area, that once formed the roof of the tunnel, has been removed. (See the plan for how it will eventually look.) There is a plan for major work to be done on the Hanover Street bridge next summer, which is likely to delay tunnel use, but step by step we are moving forward.
The folks in Lebanon Recreation & Parks wear many hats, and today, some were wearing their bench-installation hats. Thanks to Doug McGrath and Krissy Flythe, we now have a bench installed on the western end of the MRG, near the umbrella sculpture, and almost ready for use. Rest and enjoy the beautiful view of the river!
Thanks to APD and the Upper Valley Trails Association, we now have a wheelchair- accessible path from the APD/MRG parking lot, opposite the Alice Peck Day Homestead, down to the Mascoma River Greenway. The surface is hard-packed and will eventually be paved. Thanks to all who made it happen!
The yellow dots define the land approved for purchase. It is on Mascoma Street, just west of APD and adjacent to the Slayton Hill underpass. (You can see a white car emerging from the underpass in this view.)
Wednesday night, the Lebanon City Council approved the purchase of land on Mascoma Street, adjacent to the MRG and the Slayton Hill underpass, to serve as additional access and parking space. We have been fortunate to have the current Mascoma Street parking lot donated by APD; given the popularity of the MRG, a need for additional parking is anticipated and this new parking area will have easy ADA accessibility.
Thayer School Students (Sebastian Strong, Isalys Quinones, Eleanor Dowd, Sarah Atac, and David Ruiz) made an excellent presentation of their study of options for completing the western end of the trail to WRJ. They posed 3 possibilities with the favored route using the rail track across the Stone Arch Bridge (Glen Road) and into the Westboro Rail Yard with access to WRJ across Bridge Street and the Connecticut River. This will take negotiation with the Department of Transportation and and rail company, which has not been successful to date. The students are willing to try to move this forward with the help of the City.
The first of six benches purchased for the Mascoma River Greenway has been installed near the path leading down from the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital campus. The bench is dedicated to the memory of Leo C. McKenna whose wife, Christine, is an enthusiastic supporter and user of the MRG. Watch for other benches to appear along the trail as soon as weather permits their installation by the Lebanon Recreation and Parks Department.
Downtown Tunnel and Pocket Park ( Hanover Street Bridge Overhead)
By this time next year, the currently closed-off downtown tunnel should be reconstructed with connection made between the MRG and the Northern Rail Trail. Read the Valley News report on the Lebanon City Council decision.
Former Lebanon Recreation and Park Director, Cindy Heath, has been the main mover on the enhanced landscaping of the MRG pocket park by the tunnel in downtown Lebanon. She and a team from Upper Valley Rugby Club did great work in the park Wednesday evening.
Here’s Cindy’s report on this energetic team of volunteers:
“Members of the Men’s and Women’s teams of the Upper Valley Rugby Club put forth an amazing effort on Tuesday night and moved the MRG Pocket Park closer to completion. President Brian Frampton and his club mates dug out sod, applied mulch to flower beds, and did some serious digging to install wood chips under the picnic tables.
This is work that needs a strong back and stamina, and the club members were definitely up for the task. It’s amazing how much was accomplished in just two hours by this community service minded group!
Several members of the club will be back next week to put the finishing touches on a new flower bed in preparation for a final planting of perennials donated by Gardener’s Supply. All are welcome to participate in the final work session on Tuesday, August 7 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm at the park. Bring work gloves, a shovel, and wheelbarrow if you have one!” Update: Tuesday’s work was postponed on account of rain. Next work day is Tuesday, August 14 at 5:30.