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Grant would allow Goffstown to increase rail trail growth

GOFFSTOWN — The town has an opportunity to receive a grant to build a stretch of the rail trail that would bring the project to about 50 percent completion.

The town's Rail Trail Committee is asking the Board of Selectmen to approve an application for a $25,920 grant from the state's Division of Parks and Recreation Bureau of Trails' Recreational Trails Program. The 80 percent grant and 20 percent match program would build 3,500 feet of trail and drainage, about two-thirds of a mile, between Moose Club Park Road to Lynchville Park Road. The grant would be matched by manpower from the town's Department of Public Works using about six people per day for 13 days, costing about $34,743 in labor and equipment.

The board will be seeking public input on the grant application at its meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, March 3, at town hall.

"Whenever we get a grant opportunity we put it on the town website and let it sit for a week to let people know what's in the pipeline and if they want to offer comment they can," said Selectman Nick Campasano, who serves as the board's representative on the Rails to Trails Committee. "It's a way to offer more transparency."

In a presentation to the board on Feb. 24, David Pierce, committee chairman, and Lowell Von Ruden, president of Friends of the Rail Trail, said with the grant the first 1.7 miles of trail in Goffstown, starting at the Manchester boundary, would be completed. Manchester's portion of the rail corridor would also be completed this summer, including a single-span steel bridge across the Piscataquog River at Kelly Falls.

"Their 2.1 miles and our 1.7 miles means 3.8 miles of finished trail from Danis Park Road in Goffstown, to the other side of the Merrimack River near the ball stadium will be available to residents of both communities and regional visitors," said Pierce.

As 38 percent of the Goffstown trail has been completed, the grant would provide another 12 percent, bringing the project up to 50 percent — a nice milestone, Pierce said.

Another 11 percent of the trail, representing the most costly sections, is also under contract for completion through a 2010 grant.

The design of the trail described in the Recreational Trails grant application was completed last year by Friends of the Goffstown Rail Trail volunteers. An elevation survey of the 3,500 feet provided detailed information about the necessary trail slope and drainage swales.

The application is due March 7, and if the town is chosen to receive the grant, the work must be completed by June 30, 2015.

The Goffstown Rail Trail, when completed, will connect to Manchester's Piscataquog Trail, which is expected to cross the Piscataquog River and reach Goffstown this year.

The 5.5-mile trail, which runs parallel to Mast Road and the Piscataquog River, follows the former Boston & Maine railroad line from the river near the Main Street bridge in Goffstown village, through Grasmere and the county complex, to Sarette Field in Pinardville.

Campasano said the community has been supportive of the Rail Trail project, which provides a recreational feature for the town to attract visitors and businesses.

"The rail trail is a recreational asset of the town. Goffstown's appeal is its resources — the mountain, the lake and trails. The trails' uses are increasing as it develops," he said.

For more information on the Rail Trails project, visit

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