RUMFORD — Work is expected to start in a few weeks on the town’s newest attraction: a downtown fitness trail along the Androscoggin River.

The trail will feature 10 fitness stations in 12- by 12-foot parcels on town land. Equipment such as monkey bars, pullup bars or a bench for situps will be placed in concrete at the parcels so people can exercise.

Selectmen already gave their support to the project on May 1 when broached about it by Randall Smith. He co-owns Ink Plaza on Congress Street with his wife, Cherry Smith, and is chairman of Healthy Maine Streets Rumford, a subprogram of local economic development group, Envision Rumford!.

Selectmen suggested that Smith and Envision Rumford! meet with the Rumford Parks Department to have the department design the trail.

At the board’s Thursday night meeting, Rumford lawyer Seth Carey, a member of Envision Rumford! and Healthy Maine Streets Rumford, gave selectmen an update on the trail system’s progress.

Fitness station parcels have been staked out and flagged around the downtown island. Carey presented the board with drawings of the station exercise equipment, drawn by artist Kris Howes of InkMaine.

The Smiths also assembled a PowerPoint presentation about the project, including video footage of where the stations will be. It was shown to selectmen and the audience.

Carey said the trail system will be privately funded and maintained.

“We hope to purchase the materials and have a ground-breaking ceremony within the next two weeks,” Carey said. “We have a general contractor that is in charge, but are seeking volunteers to help build the stations.”

After the presentation, Town Manager John Madigan told Carey that the Maine Department of Transportation will replace the Route 108 bridge over the Androscoggin River canal in 2016 and reroute traffic in the downtown area. He said this work will likely affect some of the fitness trail stations planned along the canal.

Madigan and some selectmen advised Carey and the Smiths to meet with MDOT for an update.

Carey said they have volunteer labor from the Greater Rumford Community Center, but would like more volunteers.

“I think we’re all in favor of it, Seth,” selectmen Chairman Greg Buccina said.

Selectman Mark Belanger wanted to know more about liability issues.

“If someone gets hurt on one of these things, who is liable? Us?” Belanger asked.

Madigan said that because the trail system is going through the parks program, injuries would go through the town’s general liability insurance.

“You’ve got our support, Seth, so go ahead and start,” Buccina said.

“I guess we’ll work with the Parks Department and get started, then,” Carey said.

“We are very excited that this unique fitness trail will be located on and around the equally unique business island loop and along the beautiful Androscoggin River at the foot of one of the most gorgeous waterfalls on earth,” he said in an email after the meeting.

Anyone interested in helping can call Seth Carey at 364-7826 or email him at [email protected].

[email protected]


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