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Fundraising to begin for Brunswick-Topsham riverwalk

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Fundraising to begin for Brunswick-Topsham riverwalk

BRUNSWICK — The effort to create a 1.25-mile, four-season riverwalk between Brunswick and Topsham took another step forward last week.

The Androscoggin Riverwalk would create a loop using the recently renovated Swinging Bridge and the Frank J. Wood Bridge. The Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk committee, the group spearheading the project, plans to raise $1.2 million through grants and fundraising.

The Brunswick Town Council last week voted to support the group's grant application to help fund the third phase of the project. Design and engineering work, the first phase, is already completed.

The group has already secured $124,000 for the second phase. It will create a paved, wooded path on the Topsham side of the project. When finished, the path will run between Summer Street and a new parking lot off Bridge Street, adjacent the Swinging Bridge.

The Summer Street sidewalk will also be upgraded.

The third phase will focus primarily on work in Brunswick. The plan calls for a protected walkway along bustling Mill Street between Bow Street and the Swinging Bridge. It also calls for several bends over the riverbank, providing outlooks.

The two remaining phases will create improved sidewalks from Maine Street along Cabot and Bow street to the Route 1 ramp in Brunswick, as well as a pocket park on the Topsham side of the Frank J. Wood Bridge.

If completed, the loop will create a fully accessible in-town walking loop along both sides of the Androscoggin River.

Nancy Randolph, co-chairwoman of the group's advisory committee, told the Town Council on June 21 that the project needs $700,000 from grants, such as the Maine Department of Transportation Quality Improvement Program.

The grant will likely require a local match, but Randolph said the group will start a $500,000 fundraising campaign this summer. Randolph admitted the $500,000 goal is ambitious, but said the group is confident after previously raising funding for the Swinging Bridge project.

By endorsing the group's grant application, the Town Council approved the local match requirement, a move that drew some concern from Finance Director John Eldridge.

However, Randolph assured the council that the town could review the group's fundraising efforts before authorizing grant acceptance.

Steve Mistler can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 123 or smistler@theforecaster.net

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