NORWAY — The Board of Selectmen voted Thursday evening to sign a memorandum of understanding between the Norway Branch Railroad and several local organizations to allow creation of a pedestrian and bicycle path along part of the rail bed.

According to the memorandum, those involved include the Norway Branch Railroad committee, the town, Healthy Oxford Hills, Norway Downtown, The Progress Center, Western Foothills Land Trust and Western Maine Health.

In a letter that former Norway Downtown President Andrea Burns wrote to the selectmen in 2014, the trail would be a walking/biking connector to the Alpine Street sidewalks linking the Donald Gouin Athletic Complex and Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

“A number of years ago, there were organizations, including Norway Downtown, that were working on enhancements to the downtown area, including building walking trails,” Town Manager Dennis Lajoie told the board Thursday. “One of the trails that the organizations had looked at in the past was the railroad trail from Beal Street to Alpine Street.”

“All of the folks (in the memorandum) have had a passion for walking trails and healthy living and to have another asset within the town, and they have all agreed to work together to bring (the Norway Branch Railroad Trail) together,” Lajoie continued.

He said the goal was to “submit an application to the state to get grant funding so the trail can be fixed.”

Burns, who was at Thursday’s meeting, said the effort to get the trail finished has been “six or seven years in the making.”

Rob Prue of Pine Tree Engineering told Lajoie in an email that it would cost $3,500 to begin the first phase of the project, which includes assessing drainage along the rail bed, assessing the condition of the bridge over Bird Brook, and developing a plan for surfacing the rail bed.

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