Bethel gets trail addition funding

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BETHEL – The town will receive a $29,250 grant through the state’s park program to add 2,200 feet to the trail that runs by the Androscoggin River, a state official said.

Maine’s Recreational Trails Program this year awarded $510,879.68 of federal highway funds to 30 trail projects around the state.

The Bethel project entails creating and paving a new length of path along the northerly side of the river where the existing trail leaves the recreation bridge.

Bethel Town Manager Scott Cole said the grant will be matched locally, largely through pledges of equipment and materials.

The trail is paved, handicap accessible and considered multiple use because strollers, bicyclists and Rollerbladers can use it. Bud Newell, trail administrator for the state, said Bethel received the most money in the multiple-use category, even though it did not get the roughly $47,000 it originally requested.

“The paving is the expensive piece,” he said.

He said the trail now is roughly four-tenths of a mile long.

The state sifted through 61 applications, funding 30, splitting them between motorized, non-motorized and multiple use.

Norway also applied for a $30,000 trail grant to build a 2.7-mile trail around the proposed Technology Park on Roberts Road off Route 117, which the Oxford Hills Growth Council is developing.

That one missed being funded by seven-hundredths of a point, Newell said. “That’s how close it was.”

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