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Londonderry hopes to revive its scenic 'Apple Way'

LONDONDERRY — As the town continues to grow, Londonderry town officials are working to ensure the town’s only state-designated scenic byway is preserved for future generations.

During Monday night’s Town Council meeting, the board agreed to hold a public hearing next month.

If approved during the September public hearing, the Londonderry Heritage Commission will serve as the advisory board for the Apple Way scenic byway, Council Chairman Tom Dolan said this week.

Dolan said the advisory committee’s main task would be to make sure the Apple Way remains consistent with the state’s Scenic and Cultural Byways program.

According to John Vogl, the town’s comprehensive planner, concern over the matter grew late last year, when the town was notified by the state Department of Transportation.

“We were told the Apple Way was in danger of losing its designation,” Vogl told councilors Monday night. “One of the reasons for this was that we didn’t have an advisory in place: also our plan had expired.”

Vogl said both the Londonderry Planning and Economic Development department and Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission (SNHPC) have offered to lend their support in reviving the scenic byway.

Londonderry’s Apple Way stretches ten miles through decades-old orchards, vintage farms and pumpkin-strewn hillsides.

Essentially a scenic loop through the town’s current and former farms, the Apple Way starts at the Londonderry town complex and continues down Gilcrest, Pillsbury and High Range roads, continuing onto Elwood and Adams roads, before heading back up Mammoth Road back to Town Hall.

The byway passes through all of Londonderry’s working farms, as well as the former Woodmont Orchards: once a working fruit farm, but soon to be the site of the Woodmont Commons planned unit development.

In late July, Vogl presented his plan to restore the byway during a Heritage Commission meeting.

Vogl noted that the town signed a contract with SNHPC earlier this summer, vowing to work with the regional planning organization to update the plan, allowing it to remain on the state-authorized designation list.

“Having this destination in town brings us marketing and bragging rights,” Vogl said.

He noted that at one time, federal funding was readily available for improving scenic byway corridors, but those sources had since fallen short because of Congressional cutbacks.

An updated brochure and informational page on the town website is outlined in the byway revival plan, Vogl noted.

A public hearing on the Apple Way will take place Monday, Sept. 8, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Moose Hill Council Chambers at Londonderry Town Hall.

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