New scenic byway to celebrate mill towns along the Seacoast
By JOHN QUINN
Union Leader Correspondent | May 15. 2014 9:47PM
This map, created by the Strafford Regional Planning Commission, shows the new Mills Scenic Byway and how it could connect to other designated routes on the Seacoast – through the green hashed line. (Courtesy photo)
During a biannual meeting May 8, members of the New Hampshire Scenic and Cultural Byway Council unanimously approved the Mills Scenic Byway and included it into the state’s Scenic and Cultural Byway Program.
“While there were some concerns from residents in terms of the scenic byway program being a part of the federal highway administration, the primary reason Dover did not participate was the City Council did not feel as though a state designation would benefit them,” Pimental said.
Pimental said Dover officials “felt that their planning department and professional staff along with the volunteer work being done within the city was sufficient in marketing and promoting themselves as a community,” Pimental said.
“This is one way to provide a regional link to these mill towns,” Pimental said, adding the communities have mill buildings along the Lamprey, Oyster, Bellamy, Salmon Falls and Cocheco rivers.
While communities have had to submit a list of recreational activities along the route, Pimental said the towns must create an advisory team to develop a corridor management plan within the next two years.
Pimental said the byway includes three miles of roads in Newmarket, five miles in Durham, about a mile — through the commercial district — in Madbury and about four miles in Rollinsford. He added Durham officials hope to extend the byway to include a loop around the downtown area to include the business district.
Pimental said the SRPC hopes to connect the new byway to two others — the 21-mile Independence Scenic Byway, which travels along Route 107 in Seabrook to Route 108 in Exeter to Route 27 in North Hampton, and the 18.5-mile Coastal Scenic Byway, which stretches along Route 1A and 1B from Seabrook to Portsmouth and New Castle.
“It has not yet been established, but it is a long-term goal of SRPC to work with our counterparts in Rockingham (County) to see if we could bridge that gap,” Pimental said.