The Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) announced that it will award nearly $700,000 in grants to municipalities along the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) to improve trail amenities and visitor experience.
The grants totaling $697,030 are funded by federal dollars secured by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). This funding will serve as matching grants to communities along the trail to improve its ability to serve the public, including improvements to trailheads, picnic areas, kiosks, connections to downtowns, signage, art and history installations, and ambassador programs.
“This is an exciting day,” said Sen. Sanders. “Since securing the original federal grant to establish the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) back in 2005, I’ve been proud to see it grow over the years into the amazing local resource it is today. The trail runs through some of the most beautiful terrain and rural towns in the northern part of our state during all four seasons. While the trail is loved by cyclists and cross-country skiers from Vermont and around the country, it is also an effective means of transportation that supports local communities and creates jobs where they are most needed. I was glad to secure this additional federal funding so that Vermonters can fully enjoy the trail in their communities – by funding the construction of trailheads, picnic pavilions, and other trail amenities – and I want to thank everyone through the years who has worked so hard to make this project a reality.”
“We are grateful for Senator Sanders’ work to secure federal funding for this valuable rail trail that provides recreational opportunities to so many Vermonters and visitors to our state, as well as vital economic support to the communities along the trail,” said Governor Phil Scott.
“The LVRT is the result of great partnerships and collaboration through the planning and construction of the various trail segments,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “We are grateful to our contractors, S.D. Ireland, J.P. Sicard, G.W. Tatro, and Dirt Tech, and the agency’s planners, engineers, and project managers whose expertise and fine work have made this wonderful new rail trail a reality.”
The 93-mile LVRT is a four-season transportation and recreational trail that broke ground in 2013 through funding secured by Sen. Sanders. Since then, the trail has served as a cornerstone for transportation, recreation, tourism, and economic development in a very rural and economically disadvantaged region of Vermont. The recently completed and opened segments of the trail have quickly become community assets, supporting local recreation, transportation, and economic development. The LVRT has long been a priority in state planning, and it is also supported in Regional Planning Commissions’ planning documents.
The project has utilized a variety of funding sources, including an unprecedented $2.8 million investment of capital funds allocated by Gov. Scott in FY21 to expedite completion of the remaining segments of the trail. These state funds were approved by the Legislature and leveraged by $11.3 million in federal funds.
Eligible applicants for this federal grant program were municipalities directly adjacent to the LVRT: St. Johnsbury, Danville, Cabot, Walden, Stannard, Greensboro, Hardwick, Wolcott, Morristown (Morrisville), Hyde Park, Johnson, Cambridge (Jeffersonville), Fletcher, Bakersfield, Fairfield, Sheldon, Highgate, and Swanton.
The awards are as follows:
Scoping and Feasibility Projects
• Hyde Park – Trailhead scoping, Depot Street triangle, $30,400
• Regional amenities study including St. Johnsbury, Danville, Cabot, Walden, Greensboro, and Hardwick, $64,000
• Sheldon – Scoping for parking and amenities at Grist Mill Park, $36,000
• Swanton – Trailhead on Robin Hood Drive (western terminus of the LVRT) with lighting, portalets, picnic pavilion, bike rack, and bike repair station, $375,164
• Greensboro – Trailhead in Greensboro Bend with picnic tables, portalets, and bike repair station, $191,466