MILLINOCKET, Maine — It’s not quite finished, but walkers and joggers already have taken to the completed portions of a multiuse recreational trail along Millinocket Stream that town leaders have named after U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, officials said Monday.
The Michael Michaud Walking and Biking Trail is about 85 percent complete and should be finished by Aug. 19, said Ron Paradis, president of R.A. Paradis & Son of Newport, the general contractor handling the work.
“Anything that is finished people are already making use of,” Paradis said Monday. “You see them out there all the time.”
The job was scheduled to be finished on Friday, but Paradis sought a two-week extension to clear up some odds and ends, Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said.
The town contracted with the Maine Department of Transportation in October 2009 to build the trail, which will run about eight-tenths of a mile along both sides of the stream between Stearns High and Granite Street schools.
The town’s plan calls for spending $500,000 in federal grants, $80,625 in DOT funds and $44,375 in municipal funds, of which some will be in-kind work done by town workers. The federal grants were left over from an earlier project that never materialized.
Katahdin Paper Co. LLC donated nine small parcels of land — plus the playground in the Little Italy section of town — in December to allow town officials to keep the trail as conceived, company officials have said. James W. Sewall Co. of Old Town is overseeing the design and construction of the trail.
The project had been delayed for several reasons, including the lack of the donated parcels and final project approval from the DOT, officials have said. The project will feature a dual trail system with a paved area for walkers, joggers and bicyclists.
With Councilor David Cyr opposing, the Town Council voted 6-1 on Thursday to name the park after the Democrat Michaud, a Millinocket native and East Millinocket resident whose work helped secure the federal and state funding that is getting the trail built, councilors said.
Cyr and resident Bruce Leavitt said they would prefer having local children pick a name for the trail.
Council Chairman John Davis teasingly wondered why the trail wasn’t named after him.
“It goes right by my house,” he said Monday.
“Your driveway could be an off-ramp to it,” Councilor Michael Madore said.
Councilors have said they expected the project would beautify downtown while providing a tourist draw and a recreational outlet.