RUMFORD — A team of volunteers is searching for a location to build a recreational bridge over the Swift River.

Carol Emery of the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition in Rumford said the idea began two or three years ago.

Carl Constanzi, program coordinator for the Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 program in Oxford County, received a Community Transformation Grant that created four Active Community Environment Teams for Rumford-Mexico, South Paris, Bethel and Sacopee Valley, she said.

One of the projects the Rumford-Mexico team chose was building a recreational bridge a short distance north of the Hosmer Field complex, the site where a wooden covered bridge that was built in 1870 was wiped out in a freak windstorm in 1900.

“We still feel like this is a good idea,” she said. “We still have parties at the table who want us to move forward. There’s a lot of energy surrounding this.”

She and team members Sabrina Kurtz-Rossi, Todd Papianou, Barbara Rajaniemi, Brendan Schauffler, Joan Walton, Julie Isbill, Tina West and Town Manager John Madigan are considering what style of bridge to build and for what recreational purposes.


The team learned that land on the Rumford side where the original bridge stood is owned by the town, but land on the Mexico side is privately owned and the owner is not interested in having a bridge and a trail connected to the property.

“We thought we had some momentum on our side, but we found out that wasn’t the case,” Emery said.

She said the team is scoping out new locations along the river.

“We’re looking at sections of the river that Rumford owns,” she said. “Since the river isn’t the boundary between the two towns, there are some places that Rumford owns both sides of the river.”

Emery said the team is also considering applying for a Maine Recreational Trails Program grant through the Bureau of Parks and Lands. The grant is for building new recreational trails, maintaining and restoring existing ones and developing and rehabilitating trailside and trailhead facilities, as well as trail links.

“The plan is to start setting things up over the next year, and try and get the grant in 2017,” Emery said.

The team is also looking for more volunteers from Rumford and Mexico, she said.

Those interested may contact her or Rajaniemi at the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition at 207-364-7408.

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