DERRY — The Derry Rail Trail Association picked up another $25,000 grant last week, pushing it closer to its goal of paving a two-mile trail from downtown Derry to Windham this summer.

Erich Whitney, president of the group, said he learned of the recreational trails program grant from the state Department of Resources and Economic Development last week. It has collected $315,000 of its $350,000 goal, Whitney said.

With this latest funding push, Whitney said, association members are even more optimistic they will be able to begin working on the trail this summer.

"We're still looking to make this happen this year," Whitney said.SClBThe town is supplying $225,000, with the rest coming from grants and private donations. Whitney said the group is still waiting to hear back from several more grants that could help it hit its goal.SClBThe proposed trail would connect the bike path downtown to the 4.1-mile section of trail that is already paved in Windham. It's expected that the trail would help boost the downtown area by connecting the shops and restaurants to Windham.

The town has finished the engineering and is preparing to put the project out to bid in the next couple of weeks, Whitney said.SClBThis Saturday, Whitney and the rest of the group will be out cleaning the trail, making it ready for people to walk and bike during the summer.

"We're going to clean up the existing trail as much as we can," he said.SClB

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