HERMON, Maine — Local officials this week learned that the Maine Department of Transportation has agreed to cover most of the design cost for a sidewalk project that will, when completed, improve pedestrian connections and safety in the village center.
“This is huge for Hermon,” Economic Development Director Ron Harriman said Wednesday, adding that the town’s application was among 45 competing for a piece of the $6 million MaineDOT made available in this round of funding for its Transportation Enhancement Program.
Harriman estimated that the design work will cost about $60,000 and that the state’s share will amount to about $45,000. The local share, he said, will come from the town’s tax-increment financing revenue pool.
Harriman said being selected for design funding bodes well for the town’s efforts to obtain about $850,000 from MaineDOT for the construction of the sidewalk project, likely in 2013.
The project calls for the construction of a crosswalk and sidewalks along the section of Route 2 between the Hermon Shopping Center and Hermon High School.
The improvements are one aspect of the Village Master Plan residents adopted in 2009 as a way to create a pedestrian-friendly town center that complements the rural character residents want to retain, Town Manager Clinton Deschene said Wednesday.
He also noted that the town is working closely with MaineDOT on other Route 2 improvements planned for the next several years.
Harriman and Deschene said the sidewalk project will dovetail nicely with the recreational trail expansion planned for this summer with a more than $20,000 grant from the Recreational Trails Program of the Maine Department of Conservation’s Bureau of Parks and Lands.
The grant, if the Town Council accepts it and approves the required $8,440 in local investments and in-kind contributions, will be used to create a recreational path for pedestrians and bicycle riders from Hermon Middle School to Hermon High School and will extend to Boulier Place Retirement Community on Route 2.
The new portion of the trail system would link Hermon’s elementary, middle and high schools to the trail system that was developed in 2004 with funds that also were granted through the Recreational Trails Program.