Citizens pinpoint priority areas at Bath trails forum

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BATH — There is tremendous citizen interest in trails within the city limits, if a Bath Trails group public forum last week is any evidence.

Steve Balboni, the city’s parks and recreation director, said there is particular interest in trails along Bath’s riverfront, as well as in the south end of the city, near Winnegance Pond. Other key trail focuses in the discussion were near the YMCA and Bath’s athletic facilities, as well as in the north end of the city, near Thorne Head and the Sewall Woods.

“We learned a lot,” Balboni said, adding that much of the forum “identified trails that we were already looking at, but one of the surprising pieces was the focus on the waterfront.”

Each table at the forum was covered by a map of Bath’s trails and was filled by community members who prioritized the city’s trail system and suggested improvements for those paths.

Added signage along trails was one issue that arose during the forum, Balboni said, along with basic work on the trails themselves, such as better walking material. Participants also recommended connections between pieces of the system.

Going through all the data obtained from the public that evening will take time, Balboni explained. He called the forum “very positive, very interactive.”

The data will be used to compile a master plan on Bath’s trail system, and to ensure that Bath Trails is heading in the right direction.

Balboni estimated that about 50 people attended the forum. “That’s not bad for a public forum,” he said. “I’ll take that.”

Bath Trails has existed for about a year and a half and is a partnership of the city, area schools, non-profit organizations, private businesses, bicycle riders and hikers. The group meets at 4 p.m. the third Thursday of each month in Balboni’s office at the Bath Parks and Recreation Department at 4 Sheridan Road. All meetings are open to the public.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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bathtrails.jpgResidents of Greater Bath prioritized key trails and suggested improvements to those trails during a Bath Trails public forum held at Bath City Hall on April 16. (Lear photo)