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Lebanon plans to link middle school, trail to start next summer

Valley News Staff Writer 
Published: 11/1/2020 8:40:50 PM
Modified: 11/1/2020 8:40:46 PM

LEBANON — Work to build a path from Lebanon Middle School to the Northern Rail Trail and downtown is expected to start next summer, about eight years after city and school officials first endorsed the route.

City Manager Shaun Mulholland earlier this month unveiled plans to provide children and families with a safe, walkable way to and from the middle school near Route 4.

His proposal starts with a sidewalk that would run down Moulton Avenue to a crosswalk with flashing beacons at the state highway. People would then enter the driveway to Lebanon’s public works facility and onto a multi-use path to the rail trail.

Overall, the journey would amount to a 1.6-mile walk or bike ride into downtown Lebanon.

“The whole neighborhood will now have a decent access and a crossing to get to our rail trail,” Mulholland said during an Oct. 22 meeting of the Lebanon School District and City Council Joint Partnership Task Force.

He estimated the project would cost roughly $250,000, with funds tied to recent work to upgrade water lines, fix drainage issues and repair roads in the nearby Hillcrest Acres subdivision.

That project is now winding down and surplus money will allow the city to also repave Moulton Avenue and the public works driveway, Mulholland said.

The multi-use path that would snake its way through the woods to the rail trail would be cut by public works employees during downtime this winter, he added. Because it won’t be paved, the path won’t be wheelchair accessible. 

The plans largely follow those put together in a 2012 report produced by the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission and Lebanon transportation and school officials.

At the time, parents participating in a survey cited travel distance, the lack of sidewalks or pathways, safety issues at intersections and road crossings, and the speed and volume of traffic as reasons for driving their children to the middle school.

However, parents said they want children to be able to walk to after school programs at the Carter Community Building, with some saying they would consider allowing it if there was an adequate route.

Superintendent Joanne Roberts said the report’s recommendations haven’t come to fruition because of funding and tight deadlines required for grant funding.

“It just didn’t come to fruition,” Roberts said during the Oct. 22 meeting. “We greatly appreciate the collaboration and that there’s a potential of this finally happening.”

The Lebanon City Council will discuss approving the surplus funds required for construction during its budget deliberations this month. If they vote to move the money for the sidewalk and multi-use path, work would start at the end of the school year, according to Mulholland.

Tim Camerato can be reached at tcamerato@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.




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