METHUEN — Walk, run, bike or roller blade: The Methuen Rail Trail is officially open for whichever recreational activity you prefer.
The long-sought community offering was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.
Officials have touted the 2.4-mile trail as a place for people of all ages and abilities to incorporate exercise into their daily routines and a safe transportation alternative for residents, workers and tourists by connecting them with places they want or need to go.
The Methuen Rail Trail connects Lawrence’s Spicket Greenway with the Salem, New Hampshire, Bike-Ped Corridor and the rest of the growing Granite State Rail Trail System.
The trail was not possible until a $1.95 million Gateway City Parks grant was awarded for design and construction. The trail runs along the former Manchester and Lawrence branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad.
“The Baker-Polito Administration was pleased to provide nearly $2 million to help the City, the Methuen Rail Trail Alliance, and other partners to design and build the Methuen Rail Trail,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Among other benefits, this project improves public health by getting people outdoors, addresses climate change by enabling walking and biking instead of driving, and helps revitalize downtown Methuen.”
City Council Chairwoman Jennifer Kannan also praised the addition to Methuen.
“Today is a great day for our city, as we officially celebrate Methuen's Rail Trail." Kannan said. "I am happy to see such a wonderful effort by volunteers, the Community Development Department, and our local and state elected officials who have brought this to fruition."