LONDONDERRY — The town’s trail system may get a financial boost if voters approve a citizens petition article calling for money to help pave the way.
Trail supporters are putting the petitioned warrant article before voters, asking for $227,000 to help pave a one-mile segment of the Londonderry trail network.
Sandy Lagueux and Bob Rimol appeared before the Town Council to describe what the trails need and how important it is for the town to approve the article.
Londonderry’s network is part of a system of trails connecting towns from Salem to Windham, Derry, and up to Concord. Trails also run into Massachusetts and connect to New Hampshire.
Londonderry’s six miles of trail would be an integral part of helping complete the network through the region. Paving the first one-mile stretch would give a boost to the project, supporters said.
“Many towns have finished their sections,” Lagueux said.
Rimol said the town has been very supportive; volunteers have helped clear the trails and prepare for future pavement. Donations from private supporters and businesses are also coming in to help.
“We also received a state grant to do some grading work, to get the area shovel-ready for pavement,” Rimol said.
If approved by voters the $227,000 would go to pay for the trail’s “Demonstration Mile.” Work would include grading that one-mile area, plus 2 1/2 inches of asphalt. Loam and seed would complete the work on either side of the trail.
“This is the easiest section,” Rimol said. “Right now, construction is cheap and it’s a good time.”
Rimol said people are ready to see the trail completed, but money is tight. There isn’t much state or federal funding to go around so support needs to come from the town itself.
“Other towns ask us why we don’t finish our trail,” Rimol said. “But we are trying to squeeze blood from a stone right now.”
Lagueux said by putting the petitioned article on the Town Meeting warrant, organizers will be able to get an idea how the community feels about completing the trails.
“It will let us see what people in town think; we’ll get a barometer to let them say how they feel,” she said.
Dan Watson supports the trail with not only his volunteer time, but also his money. Watson, who works in Massachusetts, is an avid cyclist who rides to work on nice days.
“I’ll ride my bike to work, about 30-plus miles,” he said. “The best part of that ride is the Derry/Windham trail right now.”
Having Londonderry complete its trail would be a boost.
“Those things link communities together,” he said. “There are a whole host of benefits for doing this.”
Stacy Thrall walks the trails in other towns and supports the article.
“We would like to see it expanded to Londonderry,” she said.
Rimol said the trail group will continue to seek funding to help complete the trail and all ideas are welcome.
“We are fundraising every day and approaching companies every day,” he said.