LINCOLN — Already blessed with many natural attractions and amenities, the town on Monday began adding another, breaking ground on Riverfront Park.
The park will be situated on an 18-acre parcel along the northern bank of the Pemigewasset River, west of Jean’s Playhouse.
The park will be built in phases over 5-10 years and will include a skateboard park, multi-use trail system, playground, canoe launch and a dog park.
Several years in the planning, Riverfront Park is seen by the town as a way to expand recreational opportunities for residents and visitors; promote healthy lifestyles and wellness; increase public access to and use of the Pemigewasset River; and support local businesses.
Riverfront Park, according to the town, will also provide a permanent home for the Lin-Wood Skatepark and create both open green space and additional public parking.
In a slight departure from ground-breaking protocol, more than three dozen people posed for a group photo before youngsters Whitney Bell and Maya Scambio, with gentle guidance from selectman Tamra Ham, actually flipped the dirt to mark the ceremonial start of the Riverfront Park project.
Ham said she was thrilled that the park will appeal to a broad range of users, while board of selecemen chairman OJ Robinson earlier said the strong turnout for the groundbreaking represented “the support this project has.”
It’s “an exciting step,” Robinson added, to start cutting trees and moving dirt around for Phase 1, which will feature the skatepark; multi-use trail; a restroom facility; playground; and the canoe launch.
Phase II will have a performance space; an open lawn; a pavilion; a river overlook event space; the dog park; and pump track and flow trails for mountain bike riders.
Kevin Bell, who is Loon Mountain’s marketing manager and a member of the Lin-Wood Skatepark committee, said Riverfront Park will be “transformative” for Lincoln.
The park will provide everything to “cement ourselves as the destination in the White Mountains,” he said.
Tara Tower, who is Lincoln’s recreation director, said the town continues to raise funds and would appreciate either financial or in-kind donations.
She said Phase I of Riverfront Park should be complete this fall.