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Anonymous donor grants $100,000 for improved bike, pedestrian transportation

An anonymous donor has given $100,000 to improve bicycle and pedestrian transportation in New Hampshire, including grants to the cities of Lebanon and Manchester, and to the YMCA of Greater Nashua.

The grants range between $5,000 and $25,000, according to Healthy Eating Active Living NH, a partner for the New Hampshire Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program.

Grants were also awarded to the towns of Belmont and Littleton, and to the Central New Hampshire Bicycle Coalition.

The program was established in 2013 through an anonymous donation via the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. Municipal government and nonprofits with existing or planned projects were eligible to apply for the grants.

The funds help communities continue to invest in active transportation in the face of challenging economic times, said Terry Johnson, director of HEAL, which stands for Healthy Eating Active Living.

Johnson, in an interview at the start of the year, said New Hampshire is not immune to some troubling trends in obesity and overweight residents — children and adults. Improving local access to bicycle and pedestrian routes is a step in the right direction, he said.

"I think we're just beginning to see some momentum picking up," Johnson said in an interview.

Projects benefitting from the anonymous donor include:

• installation of lights on the Heritage Rail Trail in Nashua, from Nashua City Hall to nearby neighborhoods;

• painting bike lanes along four miles from downtown Concord to the Penacook village district;

• retrofitting a parking lot in Lebanon to create a safer and separate bicyclist and pedestrian connection between the northern rail trail and the Mascoma River greenway.



dtuohy@unionleader.com



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