RUMFORD – The Rumford-Mexico Active Community Environment team learned during its Monday afternoon meeting that it would not require town meeting approval to use land along the Swift River to construct a recreational bridge.

The process began four years earlier when Carl Constanzi, program coordinator for the “Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0” program in Oxford County, received a Community Transformation Grant that created separate environment teams for Rumford-Mexico, South Paris, Bethel and Sacopee Valley.

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, built in 1870, was destroyed 30 years later by a windstorm.

At the group’s Jan. 7 meeting, Rumford Parks Superintendent Mike Mills said that he and Town Manager John Madigan, also a member of the Rumford-Mexico ACE team, were investigating plots of land that Rumford owns on both sides of the river. The piece on the Rumford side is near the Hosmer Field parking lots.

“I know there was some questions about whether or not we’d have to take the issue to the people for approval, but John told me that there’s no money being swapped with the land on the Rumford side of the river and the land on the Mexico side of the river,” Mills explained. “Since both plots of land are town property, a town meeting isn’t necessary.”

Carol Emery, a member of the Rumford-Mexico Active Community Environment team, said the biggest obstacle they face is communicating with residents of Mexico who own land that abuts snowmobile trails near the Swift River.

“Right now, the snowmobile club has permission to use the trail along the Swift River, but that doesn’t mean we could use the trail for walking or biking,” Emery said.

One Rumford resident remarked, “If you get permission from three people along the river, but then two people say that you can’t use that snowmobile trail, it sort of brings the project to a halt.”

Emery said the ACE team should get a list of landowners who own property abutting the Swift River snowmobile trail.

She also asked team member Richard Lovejoy to contact Rumford Polar Bears Snowmobile Club members and request them to attend the ACE meetings in the future.

Mills later mentioned that the town had to search its records to determine whether the road adjacent to land on the Mexico side of the river is privately owned or if it’s an unused (public) road.

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