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Public to review draft plan for Androscoggin Greenway trails

After a year of workshops and public outings, a draft plan for the Androscoggin Greenway, a network of land and water-based trails, is ready to be unveiled.

The Androscoggin Land Trust, in partnership with the newly formed Lewiston-Auburn Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, will host its final public workshop on a proposed trail network on Wednesday, September 19 at 6 p.m. hosted by Museum LA in the Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston.

“National and state funders have taken an interest in the growing potential of the Androscoggin River to support economic growth and improve quality of life for residents,” said Jonathan LaBonté, director of Androscoggin Land Trust. “And with the momentum of the Riverfront Island study, it is an exciting time to be planning for the future of this river and preparing a short list of top projects that the community wishes to see completed as soon as possible.”

The Androscoggin Land Trust is working on the second year of grant funding from the Environmental Funders Network’s Quality of Place Initiative. The project is focused on planning for an Androscoggin Greenway, a continuous land and water-based trail network through Lewiston and Auburn that would link to the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park to the north and to the Turnpike in the south.

The long-term planning envisions linking to Jay and Livermore Falls in the north and to the south into Lisbon and Brunswick as part of the East Coast Greenway. With support from both cities, the National Park Service and corporate partners, ALT has hired Wright-Pierce, an engineering consulting firm, to complete the technical components of this planning.

The planning process is built on decades of investment in parks and new trails along the Androscoggin River in Lewiston-Auburn, as well as the successful conclusion of the Riverfront Island Master Plan process.

The first phase, an inventory of all existing trails, open spaces and public lands along the river corridor from Gulf Island Pond south towards the Maine Turnpike overpass of the Androscoggin, was completed last year. Phase Two, including assessing walking and biking routes, water access and water views along the Androscoggin Greenway, was done by hosting several “walking audits” of a series of loops that serve to connect key neighborhoods or business centers in the heart of the community to the river corridor and through this summer with public outreach events.

With that work complete, Wright Pierce has identified a short list of segments for community discussion and feedback. The priority segments will include detailed renderings of new trail sections, as well as cost estimates.

The discussion with the Lewiston-Auburn community on September 19 will help to further refine the Greenway Plan by setting actionable priorities for both short-term and long-term projects that the Cities of Lewiston and Auburn, as well as non-profit partners like the Androscoggin Land Trust, can implement in a coordinated way.

The Androscoggin Land Trust is a membership-supported organization dedicated to protecting important natural areas, traditional landscapes and outdoor experiences in the Androscoggin River watershed. ALT offers recreational programs in the region include LA Trails, serving Lewiston-Auburn, Chisholm Trails, serving Jay and Livermore Falls, and the Great Falls Paddling Society, offering seasonal outings on the Androscoggin River.

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