By John Toole
---- — WINDHAM — Selectmen are asking the Capital Improvements Committee to back spending $45,000 on the rail trail.
Town Administrator David Sullivan last week told the panel the town funds would be combined with $135,000 in grant money from the state and federal governments to finish the trail next year.
“If we don’t use the grant, we don’t have the opportunity to go back to it,” Sullivan said.
Only about a half-mile remains to be completed on what will be a four-mile trail from Windham Depot to the Salem line.
Sullivan told the panel the town also is working with a local developer on a potential donation that could reduce the town’s cost to the $25,000 range.
Mark Samsel, president of the Windham Rail Trail Alliance, encouraged the panel to include the project in the town’s Capital Improvements Plan.
“Right now, with Derry, we have 8 miles of continuous paved rail trail,” Samsel said. “That’s the largest abandoned paved rail trail in the state. We are truly the benchmark.”
Salem also is working on the trail and would coordinate with Windham on next year’s project.
Planning Board member Alan Carpenter, who serves on the CIP panel, said the trail was crowded when he was there earlier this year.
“There had to be 200 people between Roulston Road and the depot,” Carpenter said.