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Manchester officials seek grants designed to boost recreation trails in city


MANCHESTER — City officials are applying for two state grants that will be used to complete the paving of the Rockingham Recreational Trail on the east side and to study the feasibility of bicycle lanes in the city as part of a master plan.

The Department of Public Works will seek $25,000 from the New Hampshire Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program to complete the upgrading of the Rockingham trail, which runs between Mammoth Road and Page Street, behind the Eastside Plaza Shopping Center.

"There are sections of the trail that have been paved as part of the previous project, but this would connect Mammoth Road and the neighboring area, and pave the (entire) trail, which would make it less desirable for dirt bikes," Jessica Chambers, a planner with the Parks Department, told members of the Committee on Community Improvement Monday.

The proposal was well-received by the committee, which voted to support the grant applications.

Alderman Garth Corriveau, who represents Ward 6 — where much of the trail is located — also expressed support for the plan.

"I've heard from many people over the years, how they'd like to see the trail upgraded," he said. "And every once in a while I've heard complaints about kids using dirt bikes. I see many, many positive aspects to this."

The grant would augment existing funds; the total estimated cost for the project is $42,376.

Chambers said the money would come fully from the state and that no local match was necessary.

The other grant, for $15,000, would fund a "master plan to identify areas in Manchester where sidewalk, bike path, or trail connections should be made between neighborhoods, businesses, and the existing rail trail network," according to a memo from Chambers.

The study would come as similar discussions around adding bike lanes and cycling amenities have arisen as part of a planning study for Second Avenue. In addition, a local group has begun meeting to discuss improving "bicycle infrastructure" in the city.

tsiefer@unionleader.com

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