METHUEN — Mayor James Jajuga and city officials are inviting the community to celebrate the opening of the rail trail with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at 1 p.m.

The city was awarded a $1.95 million Gateway City Parks grant that provided funding for design and construction of the Methuen Rail Trail, a 2.4 mile multi-use path that runs along the former Manchester and Lawrence Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad.

Construction was completed earlier this fall, six months after a ceremonial groundbreaking.

The project has been in the works for years, but did not come to fruition until the state grant was awarded.

City officials have touted the 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 Salem New Hampshire’s Bike-Ped Corridor and the rest of the growing Granite State Rail Trail System.

“I am extremely pleased that the important project has been completed during my tenure” Jajuga said. “This unique space will provide countless benefits to residents and visitors in Methuen.”

Gateway City Parks grants, funded through the Environmental Bond Bill, are awarded through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The program funds the creation or restoration of significant urban parks and trails in the 26 Gateway Cities, often projects that would otherwise be difficult to build.

The Methuen Rail Trail project received strong support from the state Legislature including Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Reps. Linda Dean Campbell, Frank Moran, and Christina Minicucci. 

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