ST. ALBANS TOWN — The first steps are being taken to build a new, three mile recreation path in the Town thanks to a grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The funding is part of the $393,744 in grant awards the Town recently received from three different VTrans, according to an August 3 press release.
“We’re grateful for the money received from VTrans,” Alan Mashtare, director of public works stated the release. “The investment helps us improve and maintain our municipal infrastructure and stretch our local dollars even further.”
The Town received $175,000 from the VTrans Town Highway Structure Grant, $170,744 from the VTrans Town Highway Class 2 Roadway Grant and $48,000 from the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program.
“Our staff understands the importance of our relationship with the State of Vermont,” said Selectboard Chair Brendan Deso. “By partnering on these projects and leveraging local dollars, we improve our communities’ assets at a fraction of the cost to local taxpayers. We’re excited about the work that will be accomplished with this money.”
The VTrans Town Highway Structure Grant will replace a box culvert on Church Road, while the paving grant covered the costs of paving Church Road and Georgia Shore Road, the notice said.
A new path
Unlike the other two grants, the $48,000 from the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program will be used for new plans: a 3.2 mile ten-foot-wide paved Health Path stretching from the Collins Perley Sport & Fitness Center to the Hard’ack Recreation Area and onto the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail, said Town Director of Operations Corey Parent.
Plans for the Health Path emerged as top priority during discussion of the Town Master Plan in May, Parent said, and Town officials saw the project as a way to group a number of former top priority sidewalk projects into one.
Public input, Parent said, will be key.
“We’ll have some community meetings, and folks will tell us what they want to get out of the Path,” Parent said. “We want to make the project something that belongs to the community.”
During the Selectboard meeting on Monday, Parent said the grant allows 80% of the project to be paid for by VTrans. The Town will pay the local match of $12,000 out of the engineering budget.
Scoping the path will take around two years to complete and map out, but Parent said his understanding was that recent plans show no impact to local woods.
“Our vision is that it will provide connectivity to both growth centers,” Parent said. “It will allow people to stay at hotels in town and ride their bikes all the way to St. Johnsbury.”