A ceremonial ribbon is set to be cut Thursday afternoon, celebrating the completion of the latest stretch of the Mayor James J. Fiorentini Bradford Rail Trail.
The $1.3 million state-funded project extended the trail approximately 1,100 feet from the Basiliere Bridge on Route 125 to Railroad Street. The new section includes 10-foot-wide paths, new lighting, vegetation clearing, drainage and paving. Additionally, signs and fencing were added to accommodate bicycles and pedestrians. Public parking near the Yacht Club and public boat ramps are also accessible.
The stretch adds to the existing mile-long trail that runs opposite of the downtown side of the Merrimack River between the Joseph C. Comeau and Ralph T. Basiliere Bridges. It also connects to walking trails in Groveland, the Border to Boston Trail and East Coast Greenway. Originally named the Bradford Rail Trail, the pathway was renamed for Fiorentini due to his strong vision of the project.
As previously reported by WHAV, Councilor William J. Macek explained the mayor “really is the visionary—the one that’s out front and has pushed, at times when I’m going ‘I don’t know if he can pull this off’ to myself, and he always did. He always received more land.”
As of now, the project is 99% complete, with some signage and plantings left, including a sign depicting President Washington’s visit to Bradford at that spot of the ferry landing in 1789. Additionally, an old ‘tell-tale’ hanging chain indicating low train clearance is preserved and displayed on site.
The mayor’s office says further plans are in the works to “extend the trail further east along the river, past the yacht club and former Haverhill Paperboard site to the Groveland Community Trail, which is currently under construction.”
The ribbon cutting is taking place Thursday, Sept. 22, at 4 p.m., in front of Crescent Yacht Club, 30 Ferry St., Haverhill. Snacks and refreshments will be served.