Changes planned for city’s two-mile recreational trail

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 6/16/2019 9:29:44 PM

CLAREMONT – Improvements being made on the city’s nearly two-mile recreational trail — along with short-term and long-term plans for the path — were presented to the City Council by Parks and Recreation Director Mark Brislin last week.

Brislin said the repaving project on East Street, which parallels a short section of the Bobby Woodman Trail where it begins off Pleasant Street, also includes improvements to the trail. The parking lot at the trailhead on Pleasant Street is being improved, and the trail will be widened from eight to 10 feet with new surface material recommended by the Department of Transportation. Brislin also said pedestrian crossing signals will be installed where the trail crosses Broad Street at the community center and Chestnut Street.

In the short term, possibly in the spring of 2020, work would be concentrated in a quarter-mile stretch of trail from the bridge over the Sugar River to just beyond O’Reilly Auto Parts (formerly VIP). The trail passes in front of two auto repair businesses and there have been complaints about vehicles using the trail, which is illegal.

Brislin said they want to install gates to stop vehicles from accessing the trail and install a guard rail between the trail and Washington Street to improve safety. A third improvement would add new hard pack to better define the trail from the parking lots of businesses.

Brislin received approval from the council to apply for a New Hampshire Recreational Trails grant that requires a 20 percent match from the city. Approved projects will be announced in August, and if Claremont is successful, work would begin next May. In the long term, there was discussion at last week’s council meeting about shifting that 1,300 feet of trail so that instead of paralleling Washington Street after coming off the bridge, it would stay along the Sugar River and then come back to continue next to Washington Street at O’Reilly’s.

Owners of Maurice Auto and S G Reed Truck Services, the two businesses where gates would be installed, both said they supported moving the trail to a section of river bank.

“I think it is a great idea to move the trail and get the traffic of snowmobiles away from the businesses,” said Maurice Auto owner Mike Hurd, who owns most of the property along the river where the trail would be located

“It does seem like a nice opportunity for Claremont,” added Scott Reid. “We are in support of and on board to help.”

Other potential improvements include a trail connection to Monadnock Park, a pedestrian access from Bond Street near the start of the trail and rehabilitation to the former railroad bridge over the Sugar River.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at pogclmt@gmail.com




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