Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Community Trail

Dover was settled in 1623. Since that time there have been many advances in transportation and leisure. In the 1800s the railroad was king. By the mid twentieth century things were changing. In 1954 the Spaulding Turnpike was constructed and opened for use.

Dover remains a multi-modal community. You can use the Downeaster to visit or commute, we have intra and inner city bus service (COAST, WildCAT, FastTrans and C&J). We certainly have the automobile, but recently you might have used the Community Trail to move from place to place. The Community Trail is a project that can be viewed as either transportation or leisure. Never heard of the CT? Well, read on....

The Community Trail project began about 10 years ago. The City applied for federal funds to create a trail through the community to offer an alternative for those who need to traverse the City. This trail was envisioned to reach from Durham to Rochester. Bit by bit that plan is unfolding. The grant was approved, and the City began the planning process. This process involved creating a trail group, in the early 2000s. The focus of this group was to plan and layout a trail that the citizens would use. Staff acted as facilitators, and liaisons to the engineer retained to design the trail.

So where does the trail go?

Basically the trail has four components. The southern urban component will run from the Dover Middle School along Route 108/Durham Road and terminate at Fisher Street. The urban portion continues from Fisher Street through the Silver Street underpass, crossed Washington Street and passes over the railroad tressle between Washington Street and the Transportation Center. This portion of the trail follows the rail bed of a long defunct rail spur that ran between Dover and Portsmouth.

The northern phase of the urban portion runs from the Transportation Center, north along Chestnut Street and Fourth Street, where it reconnects with the Cochecho River at Downeast Energy. The plan, for this unfinished portion, is for a stairway to be constructed to bring travelers down to the riverside where the trail will connect with an existing rural portion that runs along the Cochecho from Beckwith Park to Whittier Street.

Once across Whittier Street, the trail will cross under the Spaulding Turnpike and follow the river parallel to Sixth Street behind the Liberty Mutual and Measured Progress complexes. A trail head exists on Watson Road, where a parking lot is designed. The final portion of the trail would connect from Watson Road to the Rochester City line. A full map of the trail is available.

Next Steps
In May of this year a ground breaking ceremony was held at the campus of Measured Progress as we look towards the construction of the parking lot area off Watson Road. In July the Rotary Club of Dover agreed to sponsor a trail head at the Transportation Center. This trail head will be a welcoming site for travelers on the trail and is an integral part of the evolution of the trail.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Well a lot of work has been invested in the process. The Open Lands Committee, Conservation Commission, Dover Main Street and the Planning Board have all assisted the Community Trail committee with work and support over the past ten years. This project has had fits and spurts, and keeps on chugging as we move towards completion of the urban sections.

If you are interested in being involved, please check out the trail's Facebook page. The group will be meeting soon and agendas are posted on the page, as well as the City's web site.

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