MEXICO – Town officials and the area’s planning agency are well on their way to creating multiuse paths to serve school children, walkers, snowmobiles and other means of transportation that would connect with neighboring Rumford.

David Errington, road commissioner for the town, said a so-called “walking” audit of the town’s proposed trail system resulted in a series of long- and short-term recommendations by the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments.

When completed, the trail system will run from the grassy area along the Androscoggin River at the rear of the town office, to a connection with the Rumford trail off from Hosmer Field. The trail will also cover areas near Meroby Elementary School, Mountain Valley Middle School, and in the vicinity of Intervale Avenue.

The study, he said, is the beginning of a grant process that would make the entire 1.5 mile trail possible.

Included in the trail system would be a boat launch into the Androscoggin River from the rear of the Family Dollar Store. That part of the plan was supposed to have taken place this year, but frequent and heavy rains prohibited the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife from completing the project. A canoe launch into the Swift River, which is also a part of the trail system, is already in place near the Red Bridge.

The walking audit was also sponsored by the Maine Department of Transportation which may eventually provide some of the funding for the trail.

Included in the recommendations for completion by the town’s public works department are such things as trimming of vegetation along sidewalks, more clearly developed crosswalks, relocation of some crosswalks, and an expansion of some sidewalks.

One of the major projects that will likely require grant funding is construction of a snowmobile bridge on the abutments of a former railroad trestle that once spanned the Swift River. That bridge will connect the Mexico trails with the Rumford snowmobile trails, Errington said.

Other projects include extending sidewalks along the river side of Main Street to Veterans Bridge, constructing a bicycle lane on Whitman Street, acquisition of rights through public easements for trail use and maintenance, among a myriad of other actions that would enhance a multiuse trail system.

Errington said work on the proposed trail system is done for this year, but will begin again during the next construction season. That is also when Errington or other town officials will also begin the grant application process.

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