Public input wanted for Bluffside Farm trail connector, meeting tomorrow

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Construction of the final car-free link in the seven-mile, recreational trail connecting downtown Newport with trails in Canada is on track, but planners are first seeking residents’ input.

A project update is scheduled for Thursday, October 17, at 5:30 p.m.

The update will be held in the Newport Municipal Building, located at 222 Main Street, in the Council Room.

The car-free trail would reroute the existing Newport bike path across Scott’s Cove with a bridge.

The proposed bridge will connect Prouty Beach and Bluffside Farm, owned by the Vermont Land Trust.

The Bluffside Farm trail will also connect to the Beebe Spur Rail Trail, a four-mile rail-trail that spans the eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog toward Canada.

The project is on track, and construction is scheduled to start in Spring 2020.

However, VLT and project consultants are seeking public input on the trail before moving forward.

The presentation and input session will be part of the Newport Recreation Committee meeting, and it will be open to the public.

In 2018, VLT raised the $1.2 million to build the Bluffside Farm section of the trail.

Currently, trail users must travel vehicular roads to get from one of these trails to the other.

In July 2019, VLT contracted with DeWolfe Engineering Associates to develop the engineering plans for the proposed bridge and bike path.

In August, geoengineers from S.W. Cole Engineering, Inc., took soil samples from around Scott’s Cove.

The results show that it is safe to build the bridge and boardwalk across the waterway.

VLT purchased Bluffside Farm, a former dairy farm located on Scott Farm Road on Lake Memphremagog, in December 2015.

Following public meetings and farm tours, VLT and community members identified recreation, farming, and nature as priorities for the land.

The farm has been open to the public since its purchase and is used by community members for walking, skiing, and hunting, local schools as an outdoor classroom, and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps to grow vegetables for North Country Hospital and Northern Vermont Regional Hospital.

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