NEWPORT — On Friday, the Vermont Land Trust announced that they received a major grant that will go toward creating a four-season waterfront recreational trail through Bluffside Farm.
This portion of the trail would be one phase of a broader effort to create a seven-mile trail that would connect downtown Newport with bike paths in Quebec.
The $425,000 grant was awarded by the Northern Borders Regional Commission.
“Receiving the support from the Northern Board Regional Commission, at this level, is the critical first step in creating the waterfront trail,” said VLT’s Tracy Zschau. “With these funds in hand, we look forward to working with partners in Newport and other public and private funding sources to secure the rest of the money needed to begin construction.”
Recreation was high on the list of community priorities for the property that arose from several public meetings.
“It is very exciting to begin implementing one of the ideas that came out of the meetings,” said Tracy. “Given the farm’s location between Prouty Beach and the Beebe Spur Rail Trail, this is such a unique opportunity to fully connect the downtown to the rail trail and beyond.”
The grant was announced on August 10 at a ceremony in Hardwick attended by Senator Leahy, Governor Scott, and representatives of Vermont’s congressional delegation.
The grant will go towards the construction of a boardwalk and one-mile recreation path through the farm, which is located on Lake Memphremagog.
This project is considered the second phase of the Downtown Newport City Waterfront Recreation Path and Lake Access Project. The first phase is a waterfront walking path along the privately owned Waterfront Plaza. Phase one is being constructed through a public-private partnership between the City, Newport City Renaissance Corporation, and Pomerleau Real Estate.
While separate projects, with different timeframes and budgets, completing both the Waterfront Plaza path and the Bluffside Path is essential for a full recreational trail.
“We want to thank the many community members and groups who have been working with us on this effort,” said Tracy. “These include Newport City Rennaissance Corp, City of Newport, Northern Vermont Development Association, Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation, AARP- VT, Memphremagog Watershed Association and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.”