Kennebec Messalonskee Trails’ president wrote to the actor

to ask for support.

WATERVILLE (AP) – Actor Paul Newman has donated $10,000 to help build an 18-mile trail system for runners, bicyclists, walkers and skiers.

Peter Garrett, president of Kennebec Messalonskee Trails Inc., said he wrote a letter to Newman in November explaining that the trail system would open up land along the Kennebec River and Messalonskee Stream for people to exercise and see wildlife.

Newman spent much of last summer and fall in central Maine for the filming of “Empire Falls,” an HBO movie based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name by Maine author Richard Russo.

Garrett said he recently received a check and a letter from Newman expressing support for the project.

“He’s a very community-minded person – that’s what it says about him,” Garrett said.

Newman has also donated to other local causes, including $10,000 to United Way of Mid-Maine Inc. and $15,000 to the South End Learning Center.

The Kennebec Messalonskee Trails Committee is launching a capital campaign this year, hoping to raise $1.6 million over five years as local match money for federal funding of trail construction. The total cost of the project is estimated at $6.5 million.

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