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November 04. 2012 10:33PM

Londonderry Trailways to fundraise at the polls

LONDONDERRY - As members of the Londonderry Trailways group race against time to match federal grant funds to complete the town's railroad trails, volunteers are reaching out to residents heading out to the polls this week.

On Tuesday, voters will have the chance to purchase "a foot of trail" for a $40 donation when they stop by Londonderry High School. Volunteer Pollyann Winslow said such donations are needed because the group will need to have funding up front in order to received reimbursement in federal grants.

"The concern right now is that this federal money might dry up if policies and budgets change following elections," Winslow said.

Voters entering the polling area will notice a table in the gymnasium's front lobby, decked out with a pile of asphalt, a pick and a shovel.

"That will show some tangible proof that this is a construction project that requires trail clean-up, grading and paving," Winslow said.

Incorporated in 1999, Londonderry Trailways was authorized by the town council to research ways to turn the town's former railway corridor into a recreation area in 2010. Once completed, the former railway beds will be converted into a 6.4-mile long, 10-foot wide paved pathway, connecting to similar projects in Derry, Windham and Manchester.

According to organization spokesman John Daly, Londonderry Trailways was recently awarded a $20,000 grant, which is being put towards grading and trail work along a 3-mile trail segment. That section of the Rail Trail, which winds southward from Londonderry North School down Route 28 towards Seasons Lane, will be open for bicyclists, walkers and runners sometime in June, though paving the trail will be a future goal.

Recent clearing of the trail's Cohas section, located near the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in the northern part of town, are exposing long-abandoned railroad tracks. Daly said the goal is to remove those tracks within the next couple years. The organization will seek additional grant funding in the coming months, with fundraising activities continuing to reach out to potential corporate and private donors. For more information visit .

aguilmet@newstote.com


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