Hardwick, News

Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) Committee Meets

HARDWICK – At 4:30 p.m. on March 19, the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) Committee, a subcommittee of the Hardwick Recreation Committee, met at the Memorial Room in the Memorial Building to discuss spring and summer plans for the Hardwick section of the LVRT.

Present were Helen Beattie and Brendan Buckley from the Hardwick Trails Committee, Elizabeth Dow from the Hardwick Historical Society (HHS), Tracy Martin, community development coordinator for the Town of Hardwick, and Irene Nagle from the East Hardwick Neighborhood Organization (EHNO).

Martin announced that over the course of the biking season, VTrans will close sections of the LVRT to make permanent repairs to the areas damaged by the 2023 floods. Last summer, they applied temporary repairs so they could re-open trails.

Over the past year, the committee has worked with VTrans to develop LVRT trailheads in East Hardwick and in the area of the Town House and Depot in Hardwick. Trailheads have a wide range of amenities, but the trail will also have places where people can pause and rest. These pause places will have a minimum of amenities. Hardwick will have a pause place at the corner of the LVRT and North Main Street.

Using grant funds from the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative, the committee has worked with Peltz Creative in Woodbury to design a brochure showing outdoor recreational sites in Hardwick. The committee decided to order 1,000 of the brochures which they will make available at points along the rail trail and perhaps at Hardwick Spring Festival.

A larger version of the map will appear in information kiosks along the rail trail. The committee will need up to another $1,000 to have the maps printed. The Hardwick Downtown Partnership has agreed to fund that expense.

Brendan Buckley will reach out to Alex Peltz to discuss including biking loops on the enlarged map.

Martin reported that the garbage and recycling bins for Hardwick’s portion of the LVRT have arrived and now sit in town storage. The bins, purchased with a Community Services Grant that the town received from the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District, will sit at the trailheads and the pause place. The committee has not yet settled on a contractor to empty the bins.

A Building Communities Grant from the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services has enabled the town to contract with Timber Homes Vermont to construct kiosks and bases for interpretive signs. Matching funds for the Building Communities Grant were donated by the HHS and the EHNO.

On April 10, Town Manager David Upson will meet with committee members at the LVRT trailheads and pause place to establish exactly where to place kiosks and signs so they conform with the lease the town will sign with VTrans, which owns the right-of-way for the rail trail.

Nagle announced that EHNO sent a letter of interest to the Vermont Arts Council (VAC) for an Animating Infrastructure Grant to pay for the completion of the trailhead shelter and related amenities in East Hardwick with an integrated art component, such as a mural. If VAC finds the project interesting, it will ask EHNO to submit a full application.

The LVRT Committee meets on the third Tuesday of each month.

Elizabeth H. Dow is a community journalist and a member of Northeast Kingdom Public Journalism, publisher of The Hardwick Gazette.

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