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Community volunteers built the new Sunapee pedestrian bridge this summer. (Courtesy)

Time capsule in 25 years

Sunapee opens bridge over Sugar River


SUNAPEE — More than 400 people attended Sunday's opening of the new pedestrian bridge over Sugar River.

The bridge connects Sunapee harbor to additional parking, the river walk and the historic Harbor House Livery building.

In 25 years, the town will mark the bridge ribbon-cutting when it opens a time capsule in 2038 that attendees signed on Sunday. The capsule will be buried in the next few days, said Donna Gazelle, a board member of Project Sunapee, the nonprofit that raised money and organized the bridge project for the benefit of the town.

Building the pedestrian bridge has been in the town's master plan since 1985.

"Really what we're hoping is this brings access to parking areas that are scarce in our town. So we are hoping it will encourage new businesses and really revitalize our village," Gazelle said.

Project Sunapee initially started raising money in 2011 to dismantle and move a pedestrian bridge from Dover to Sunapee, Gazelle said.

After the money was raised, Dover officials changed their minds and did not give the bridge to Sunapee, Gazelle said, but the momentum was there so Project Sunapee went forward with a bridge building project and raised $120,000 to commission a timber- frame bridge from a company in Oregon.

The disassembled frame arrived late last year, but had to wait through the winter until the snow melted before it was brought out. Assembly of the bridge beside the river started in late May and was led by a fourth-generation master craftsman, Brent Stocker.

In July, a crane lifted the bridge and set it on its foundation, and construction continued. Lighting and landscaping work still need to be completed, Gazelle said.

Next project

Now that the pedestrian bridge is in place, Gazelle and Muriel Bergeron hope another master plan project — to restore the old Harbor House Livery — will pick up steam.

Many people in town refer to the 1890 building as the "old town hall," but it was originally the livery or the horse stables for the Harbor House Hotel, which is long gone.

The building is on the historic national register and is the only remaining historic building in town.

"It has been the firehouse, the police station, the town hall; they've had theatrical performances there; it's been just about everything," Gazelle said.

Restoring the building will be a joint public-private partnership in which the main space of the building would remain for community use, Gazelle said.

mpierce@newstote.com

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