Livermore Falls to get money to extend walk, bike path

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LIVERMORE FALLS — The town was recently notified that it will receive a $16,000 grant from the state for planning and engineering work to extend the Foundry Road Trail about a mile.

The nearly three-quarter-mile Foundry Trail opened in the fall of 2009. This new money would be used to develop a plan to extend the trail south to the end of Foundry Road to Shuy Corner at the intersection of routes 133 and 17. It would then go north on Route 133 up to the Livermore Falls school complex.

It is part of a proposal to create the Riverfront School Trail that would link the Whistle-Stop Trail, which goes from Jay to Farmington, and Jay schools south, along the Androscoggin River, to the Livermore Falls school buildings, Jonathan LaBonte, co-chairman of Chisholm Trails and executive director of the Androscoggin Land Trust, said Monday. Chisholm Trails, which is working on Jay and Livermore Falls projects, is a program of the land trust.

The money for the engineering/planning work for the extension will come from the Maine Department of Transportation Quality Communities Program, he said. It is the same program that helped fund the paved walk-bike Foundry Trail.

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Statewide these funds are very competitive, LaBonte said.

And for the town of Livermore Falls to get the grant is a significant accomplishment, he said.

A federal and state grant paid for the bulk of the existing trail that cost about $223,000. Livermore Falls was responsible for 20 percent of it or about $44,000.

“The goal of the planning/engineering money would be to get the project designed so it can be ready to go out to bid when construction money comes available,” LaBonte said.

One of the key recommendations that came out of the study to revitalize downtown Livermore Falls in 2004 was to focus on the riverfront, he said.

Members of Chisholm Trails is leading the Riverfront School Trail venture, has been hard at work to continue to develop the trails since the group was founded in 2009.

There is also an ongoing project to extend the Whistle-Stop Trail in Jay to go across an old railroad bed that would link the end of Whistle-Stop on French Falls Lane to behind Franchetti’s Hometown Variety. The latter abuts the Otis Ventures LLC’s complex, which was formerly known as the Wausau Paper Mill that closed in June 2009. Otis Ventures owners, Mary Howes and husband, Tim DeMillo are also working on an initiative that would allow a trail to cross their property.

The Maine Department of Conservation has purchased the railroad bed. All-terrain vehicle clubs have already started clearing it out, he said.

Last year, students from the Jay and Livermore middle schools started at their respective schools and walked the trails and land where trails are proposed to meet at Otis Ventures. Chisholm Trails plans to sponsor a second National Trails Day event with some students from both schools on Friday, June 3. This time the Jay students will be bused to the Livermore Falls school and students from both schools will walk the proposed Riverfront Trail together. They’ll stop at Otis Ventures where several Trails Day activities are scheduled to take place.

dperry@sunjournal.com

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