LONDONDERRY — The state Commissioner of Transportation, town officials and volunteers celebrated the newest stretch of rail trail in northern Londonderry with a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday afternoon.
The mile-long stretch of rail trail between Little Cohas Marsh and Harvey Road known as Phase 5 cost about $400,000 to complete, according to Bob Rimmol, the president of Londonderry Trailways. It took the help of town taxpayers, a state grant, the Londonderry Conservation Commission and donations from area foundations and businesses like Kluber Lubrication and others.
As a result, the paved trail is now about 4½ miles long. The first mile was paved in 2013.
DOT Commissioner Victoria Sheehan brought her bicycle to the trail to check it out, and congratulated all the volunteers for completing as much as they have in a relatively short period of time.
“Londonderry is the shining star,” Sheehan said. “Your community is leading the way.”
She said the community is a great example of how to bring people together and how to make a vision for a rail trail become a reality.
Rimmol said a short time ago, the area was overgrown and littered with leaves and trash. On Friday, it was a clean, paved trail.
All that remains is a short section of trail where it connects to Derry and a final mile through the airport area where it will connect to the rail trail in Manchester. Rimmol said that will cost $1.2 million to complete, about $800,000 of which will come from a state grant.
Rimmol said they will begin the engineering and design phase for Phase 6 soon. The Derry connection is waiting on the construction of Exit 4A off Interstate 93.
Attending the ceremony were Londonderry Trailways volunteers, donors, Londonderry state Sen. Sharon Carson, Town Council Chair John Farrell, Town Manager Kevin Smith, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Director Ted Kitchens, Town Planner Colleen Mailloux, Public Works Director Janusz Czyzowski, Conservation Ranger Glen Aprile and Aviation Museum Executive Director Jeff Rapsis.