Houlton councilors OK easement for riverfront trail project

Posted Dec. 09, 2008, at 9:41 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 13, 2011, at 11:05 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — In 2005, volunteers behind an effort to construct a pedestrian walking bridge in the community accomplished a major goal when the snip of a ribbon allowed residents to take their first steps across the trestle named Gateway Crossing.

Initially labeled the Riverfront Bridge by town officials and the committee that helped raise more than $1 million to fund its construction, the 187-foot structure stretches from the North Street Bridge across the Meduxnekeag River.

The bridge was designed to give walkers easy access to historic downtown Market Square and the trails alongside the river. It was five years in the making.

The Riverfront Committee soon afterward created a park furnished with picnic tables and other amenities and significantly landscaped the area. Another goal was to create a loop trail around the area to benefit fitness enthusiasts.

Town councilors took a closer step toward creating the trail Monday evening when they approved execution of the easement from Mary R. Hatfield to the town for a parcel of land that will be used recreationally for the town’s Riverfront Trailhead Stairway Project.

Planners hope to build a stairway that will allow fitness walkers to connect from the trails underneath the Highland Avenue bridge to a sidewalk path along Highland Avenue.

Town Manager Douglas Hazlett was happy to see the project coming to fruition.

He said the easement came at no cost to the town and that work crews were ready to start building the stairway now.

“All of the material has been purchased,” he said Monday evening.

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