Tony Roy of Stoneage Stone Works fits in the last bricks on a new section of paved walkway. (Karen Bobotas/for the Laconia Daily Sun)
By MICHAEL KITCH, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — With the second phase of the Winnipesaukee-Opechee-Winnisquam (WOW) Trail nearing completion, Allan Beetle, president of the WOW Trail Committee said this week that he has begun to think of scheduling a ribbon-cutting ceremony and to turn his attention toward construction of the next phase.
"We have a lot, a lot of thank yous to give for all those who made this happen," Beetle said.
The second phase of the trail begins at the Laconia Public Library and runs for nearly a mile to the Belmont town line, where it joins the Winnisquam Scenic Trail, which opened in September. The trail runs alongside the railway for virtually its entire length. After swinging around a pair of historic railway sheds between New Salem Street and Water Street, it crosses the property at the corner of Water Street and Fair Street to join the Fair Street Bridge. Crossing the bridge, the trail rejoins the railway, crosses Bay Street and runs past the foot of Keasor Court toward Bartlett Beach, where a boardwalk carries it over a wetland. Then a bridge takes the trail over Durkee Brook from where it will parallel the railroad track and Court Street to join the Winnisquam Scenic Trail in Belmont. Altogether there will be 4 miles of continuous paved trail, suited to running, walking and cycling, stretching from Lakeport Square nearly to Mosquito Bridge.
Beetle praised the work of John H. Lyman & Sons, Inc. of Gilford, the general contractor, and Jim Bobotas Custom Builder of Gilford, who built the boardwalk and bridge — the first of each on the trail — who together have undertaken the project on schedule and under budget. He remarked that when the project began there was not enough cash in hand to meet the budget, but thanks to the general contractor, the committee did not have to draw a penny from its line of credit.
Beetle said a few finishing touches remain, including a pair of utility poles still standing in the middle of the trail, one near Pitman's Freight Room and another on Water Street, some brick work downtown and a stretch of fencing, all of which he expected would be completed in the next couple of weeks.
The budget for the second phase of the trail was $876,000, of which the city contributed funded by the Downtown Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and the balance was raised by fundraising events sponsored by the WOW Trail Committee and private donations.
The third phase of trail is planned to stretch from Lakeport Square to The Weirs, following the railroad right-of-way along the shore of Paugus Bay.
Middle photo, above, Phase 2 of the Wow Trail was nearing completion Tuesday on the brick walkway at the Laconia Railroad Station. Just above, Tom Bobotas and Allan Bishop of James Bobotas Custom Builders finish up work on the Durkee Brook Bridge Wednesday afternoon nearing the completion of Phase 2 for the Wow Trail.(Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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