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Village Pathway Committee unveils map of town paths

November 18, 2009
MEREDITH — Walking opportunities are laid out in a new guide to local pathways.

Liz Lapham, chair of the Village Pathway Committee, made a presentation to the Board of Selectmen on the Village Pathway Report Monday night.

The Village Pathway Committee has met for nearly two years to discuss walking and multi-use paths in the town, including taking inventory of current paths and looking into the feasibility of cleaning or creating others. The goal was to develop a pathway plan leading into the village core.

Work was completed by members of the committee with additional help from town GIS specialist Michelle Therrien, who helped with mapping and location.

The committee has unveiled a list of five paths including a map and a page of dialogue describing each path and it's level of difficulty.

Pathways were rated as easy, moderate, challenging, and more challenging. All paths listed in the report start from the town docks. Additionally restroom locations are listed for each path.

The first path is a .8-mile walk leading to Waukewan Beach. The second involves walking down Water Street and walking down Red Gate Lane, a 1.5-mile walk that is rated as the most challenging of the five. The third is a .6-mile walk leading to the community center and the 186-acre town forest. The fourth goes to the area of the community Center and Prescott Park, going across another path and a footbridge to the Inter-Lakes track. The shortest walk at half a mile goes from the docks, through Hesky Park, and ends at Community Park.

"They're accessible to everyone and are ready, not going to require anything to need to be done to them," Lapham said.

Lapham said it is also a hope that this map and information is bundled with other maps or other trails in town.

Eventually Lapham said they would like to put arrow markers on the footbridge outside the community center to mark the path and have the maps and information printed out double sided.

The committee will work to promote the report and the use of the pathways. One option may be to have a "Walk Meredith" event where different volunteers meet people at the town docks and take them on the different walks.

Further plans include identifying connecting paths to the ones described while plans even further include looking at funding opportunities to create new paths, possibly even tie into the region-wide multi-use trail system in progress.

Looking at opportunities for biking also might result in a future subcommittee

"I found this kind of exciting," Lapham said. "Now that we have these things we can go forward. This is a wonderful opportunity for Meredith to be a real walking community."

Town officials responded to the guide with enthusiasm.

"I think this is delightful," said Selectman Colette Worsman. "I think this is a great thing for the community."

Worsman said this would be a good resource at hotels. Selectman Chuck Palm, who co-owns Harbor Hill Camping Area, said one of the questions he is most frequently asked relates to good places to walk and bike.

Lapham said visitors were originally going to be the target of the plan, though they wanted to target more residents to show them the opportunities in town.

"This is a testament to what your community does with volunteer help," said Town Manager Phillip Warren, who said other towns could pay thousands to have a consultant to the same work the volunteers did. "You actually had a group of residents that have produced a camera-ready document."

The listing of pathways will be available at Town Hall and other locations throughout town.

Salmon Press
Town of Alexandria
Martin Lord & Osman
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