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Letter of credit secured for Salem bike, pedestrian path

SALEM — The Friends of the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor have secured a letter of credit for $100,000, which will help satisfy the town’s required local contribution to the planned bike and pedestrian path along Rte. 28.

The planned bike and pedestrian path would stretch from the Windham line to the intersection of Old Rockingham Road and Rte. 28.

The nearly $1.1 million project would be paid for through a federal grant in conjunction with local matching funds raised by the Friends of the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor.

Salem will be administering the project under the oversight of the state’s transportation department.

The local match portion of the project is slightly more than $229,000.

The letter of credit from the Salem Cooperative Bank was made possible through a tax credit grant from the state’s community development department. The tax credit grant will allow donors to the project to offset part of their contributions on their taxes.

“With the letter of credit for $100,000, it assures that the full sum of $229,000 will be available and that no local taxpayer funds will be used to complete this phase of this long awaited project,” said Larry Belair of the Friends of the Salem Bike-Ped Corridor.

Earlier this winter, Greg Backus of VHB Engineering presented selectmen with several alternatives for the bike path. The board unanimously backed a plan that will run along the Rte. 28 corridor rail bed from the Windham line and cross the intersection at Range Road.

The project will include an improved pedestrian crossing at Range Road.

From there, the path will continue on the side of the rail bed away from Rte. 28 for a portion of the way to the Old Rockingham Road intersection.

Backus recommended that alternative, because a portion of the rail bed is unusable because of wetlands issues. Once past the wetlands, the path could once again be built along the rail bed.

Depending upon available funds, the path could continue to the Main Street intersection.

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