April 07, 2020

Panel endorses effort for new recreational trails

BANGOR – A City Council subcommittee put its stamp of approval Monday on plans to partner with two local groups to build new recreational trails, connect existing ones and develop a citywide management system.

Though there has been a great deal of interest in such a project in the past, the project really began to pick up momentum this spring after the two local groups, Bangor Land Trust and Keep Bangor Beautiful, launched the Bangor Trails Project, an ambitious, citywide plan to make Bangor a walkable and bikable city.

As part of the public rollout, residents were invited to mark out their favorite existing trails, as well as trails they would like to see built.

Now the city is getting involved.

In recent months, the city and the two groups have hammered out a memorandum of understanding aimed at turning the community’s trails dreams into reality.

If approved, the memorandum of understanding would create a nine-member committee composed of representatives from the city, Keep Bangor Beautiful and the Bangor Land Trust.

The group would study the existing trail system, consider the best places to create new trails, develop fundraising strategies, work with property owners, acquire trail easements, oversee the construction of new trails and supervise trails maintenance.

“I want to applaud all of you for a very thorough and well-thought-out document,” Councilor Richard Stone said after a presentation about a proposed memorandum of understanding among the city, the land trust and Keep Bangor Beautiful.

Though the agreement is on the agenda for the council’s Oct. 11 meeting, it will be postponed to Oct. 23 because the land trust and Keep Bangor Beautiful both have board meetings that night, City Manager Edward Barrett pointed out.

Councilor Peter D’Errico asked if there were any financial implications for the city.

Keep Bangor Beautiful Vice President Heather Parent said it did not, but that the city and the two groups would work together to obtain grants and other outside funding for trails-related work.

Barrett added that the city already has some funding for a proposed linear park at Bangor Waterfront along the Penobscot River that would include trails and last year accepted a $25,000 gift from L.L. Bean for trail improvements along the Kenduskeag Stream.

“There are also things we can do with existing infrastructure without a lot of extra cost,” he said.

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