Project principals and supporters cut the ribbon on the Laverack Nature Trail at Hawkins Brook. From left to right: Alison Whynot of Meredith Village Savings Bank, Josh Ryan of Timber & Stone, LLC, supporter and trail namesake Sam Laverack, Meredith Village Pathways Committee chair Andrea Bourn, and Meredith board of selectmen chair Ray Moritz. (Photo by Erin Plummer) (click for larger version)
September 16, 2020MEREDITH — After nine years of hard work and volunteer involvement the ribbon was officially cut on the Laverack Nature Trail at Hawkins Brook.
The fully accessible trail runs along Hawkins Brook from the back of Meredith Village Savings Bank to the upper fields at Prescott Park and includes an outdoor classroom, informational signs, and many other different educational opportunities.
Project principals and supporters gathered for a socially distanced ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday afternoon celebrating the project's completion.
"It finally arrived, the day that we've been waiting for," said Andrea Bourn, chair of the Meredith Village Pathways Committee.
The trail has been in the works since 2011 and gone through a number of different stages and hurdles including different concepts, completion goals, plans, and extensive fundraising efforts. Bourn recognized the members of the committee and several people who played roles in the project.
"It really did take a whole team to complete this beautiful (trail)," Bourn said.
One of the biggest contributions to the project was a donation made in June of 2018 by NH Mutual Bancorp (which owns MVSB and Merrimack Valley Savings Bank). The company gave a sizable donation to the project in the name of retiring MVSB President and CEO and longtime trail supporter Sam Laverack. As a result the trail was named the Laverack Nature Trail at Hawkins Brook.
Alison Whynot of MVSB, who had worked with Laverack for years, said the whole board was really excited when this project came to them.
"The board was incredibly excited to jump on board with this as Sam was retiring," Whynot said.
After getting the suggestion to put a trail in that area, Bourn and committee member Liz Lapham went out with kayaks to look at the area for the first time. After coming back they ran into Laverack.
"After Sam said, 'What're you doing?' I said, "We're thinking about building a trail back there,' and he said, 'Great idea!'" Lapham said.
The bank announced the donation at Laverack's retirement party, which Laverack said was a huge honor.
He said he thought this trail was an "important aspect of Meredith" and part of its evolution.
"I got to watch the town of Meredith make a transition from a mill town to what is now a recreation town," Laverack said.
He said the more recreational opportunities like this the town offers the more visitors it will get.
Laverack gave the town, the committee, and everyone involved in the project huge thanks for all their work.
"It's a huge boost to Meredith and Meredith will continue to add things like this now that it's complete," Laverack said.
Board of selectman chair Ray Moritz recognized all those who took part in the project.
"It took a vision, a lot of work, and a great deal of perseverance to make it happen Moritz said.
He said only 12 percent of the project came from taxpayer expense thanks to the donations they raised.
Josh Ryan's company Timber & Stone, LLC worked on the project from the planning stages through to the end. Ryan said this project has been one of his company's most iconic.
"When we come into a community we don't come in with some tools and some designs: we come up with heart and passion," Ryan said.
He said everyday they were out there, people were cheering them on.
Lapham also recognized Bourn's leadership through this process.
"We owe Andy so much for making this possible," Lapham said.