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.
Lebanon is graced with the beautiful, winding Mascoma River . . . but there are very few places where one can actually appreciate that beauty. The MRG is one of those places. Above is a view from the western end (behind the movie theaters) looking east.
Have you seen the western end now that it has been paved? Smooth sailing for bikes, skate boards, roller blades, baby strollers and many other modes of non-motorized transport.
Western end (behind movie theaters) looking west
A project like this pocket park on the MRG makes one aware of the generosity of this community. So many beautiful plants were dug and donated from gardens around town and farther afield. Folks donated their time and energy, and it is gratifying to know that many local businesses grant volunteer time to employees during the work day. (The MRG has benefited greatly for a number of years by these volunteers.)
On Wednesday, donors and volunteers showed up at the pocket park with carloads of beautiful plants. Among the volunteers was Jake Jasinski and his Mom Linda. Jake was the Eagle Scout who had envisioned this pocket park and worked with others to build the picnic tables and benches.
The group laid out the plants in a pleasing design and then went to work digging, planting, watering. In a matter of a few hours the park was transformed.
Cindy Heath in the foreground, Jackson, Henry, and Linda in back, digging and planting.
Cindy is the organizer and energy behind this extension of last year’s pollinator garden into what will be a fully landscaped park. The many hostas, flowering shrubs and trees, and ground covers will also be a boon for pollinators.
Henry Homeyer, the Upper Valley’s “Gardening Guy”, donated his time and expertise to the project. Here he is planting a beautiful little Japanese maple.
The planting day team: Cindy, Paula, Henry, Linda, Jake, Jackson, Pat
Please plan on joining us for the GRAND OPENING of the Mascoma River Greenway! Festivities will begin at 9:00AM on Saturday, July 21, on the lawn of the Homestead at Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital on Mascoma Street in Lebanon. There will be activities for bikers, hikers, nature lovers, history buffs and art enthusiasts.
In addition, Omer’s & Bob’s will provide a bike-safety check starting at 9:00. Please save the date and watch for further details about the official opening of the Greenway.
Intersection of Mascoma, Mechanic and High streets