Bennington receives $1.1 million grant for Ninja Path

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BENNINGTON — While it will be at least another three years before final construction begins, the town has received a $1.1 million grant to build the tentatively named "Ninja Path."

The trail will be of asphalt and run from Hicks Avenue – Near the Benmont Avenue bridge – behind the Walmart and Price Chopper plazas, behind the Hannafords plaza, past the Morse Industrial Park, under the Route 279 overpass, up Route 67A, ending at Bennington College which has its own network of trails leading into North Bennington.

The most expensive parts of the trail will be a foot bridge and work done around Route 67A to ensure pedestrian and traffic safety, said Michael Harrington, Bennington economic and community development director.

Funding is from the federal government and administered through the Vermont Agency of Transportation, Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. Federal money comes with a host of requirements mainly around planning and bidding, said Harrington, hence the three-year time-frame. It may take up to four depending on how things develop.

In the meantime the town will be working to make the trail open and accessible.

Bennington must match 10 percent of the grant. This can be done by having the town provide materials or labor.

The grant does not cover some side options such as a green space or seating.

"We feel this will be a major boost to our trail network in town, and will undoubtedly have a positive impact on pedestrian access and recreational opportunities for people with many interests," said Bennington Planning Director Dan Monks in a release.

Harrington said the ability to walk from near downtown Bennington to North Bennington will be a boon for the community in both attracting tourists and people who want to live and work here.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at 802-447-7567, Ext. 115.


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