Press Release: Bennington Receives Million Dollar Grant for Pathway Project

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2015

 Bennington Secures $1.1 Million Grant For Bike Path Construction

BENNINGTON, VERMONT (September 22, 2015, 1:00PM) – Local community members and businesses have spent the past three years working to construct a 2.12 mile shared-use recreational path that would run along the Walloomsac River, connecting Bennington’s urban core to the village of North Bennington. Now with some help from a federal grant, it looks like the completion of a major portion of this project is in sight.

In an award letter from the Vermont Agency of Transportation, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager Jon Kaplan announced the successful application as part of the State’s 2015 VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, with an award amount of $1,108,000, which includes a local share of 10% being borne by the Town. The local match as it’s called, can be in the form of direct cash or in-kind service (i.e. materials and/or labor).

The entire project, known as the Ninja Path, would create a clearly marked, multi-use, pathway that would link the villages of Bennington and North Bennas;ljdfington through a series of on and off road connections. The portion of the path receiving funding however, has not been without its challenges. This is because the pathway, as presented, would run behind the Walmart/Price Chopper shopping plaza, along the river, cross under the Rt 279 overpass and continue behind the Hannaford shopping center. At this point, it would cross a shallow section of the river, as well as Rt 67 before entering Bennington College, which leads to North Bennington. Dan Monks, Bennington’s Planning Director and Assistant Town Manager, shared his excitement for the project, “We feel this will be a major boost to our trail network in town, and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on pedestrian access and recreational opportunities for people with many interests.”

The Bennington Select Board voted in July of 2015 to support an application to the State’s ‘Bike/Ped Program,’ which also funded the scoping study for this project back in the spring. According to Michael Harrington, Bennington’s Economic and Community Development Director, recreation is one of the leading aspects sought after by young professionals and tourists alike. “It’s something we locals take for granted at times, but access to the outdoors and recreational opportunities are what set communities apart. This project will pay dividends for Bennington,” he commented.

Due to the complex nature of the state and federal implementation grants, coupled with the need for engineering and design work, it is likely that final construction of the Ninja Path will not be completed for at least four years. In the interim, the Town will continue to work on constructing portions of the project to ensure that the pathway is open and accessible, and that final completion happens as soon as possible.

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For more information about this press release:

Michael Harrington
Economic and Community Development Director
802-447-9710
mharrington@benningtonvt.org