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Monday, June 30, 2014

Committee calls for new boardwalk at Mine Falls Park in Nashua

NASHUA – With exposed tree roots and steep slopes, a portion of the wooded trail around Mill Pond in Mine Falls Park has become a challenge for some users to navigate.

That was evident on Sunday when a trio of cyclists reached the marker labeled “R48” on the Red Trail along the south side of the pond. Rather than risking a spill, all three dismounted and pushed their bicycles up and down a section of the trail measuring about 220 feet. ...

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NASHUA – With exposed tree roots and steep slopes, a portion of the wooded trail around Mill Pond in Mine Falls Park has become a challenge for some users to navigate.

That was evident on Sunday when a trio of cyclists reached the marker labeled “R48” on the Red Trail along the south side of the pond. Rather than risking a spill, all three dismounted and pushed their bicycles up and down a section of the trail measuring about 220 feet.

Negotiating the pathway isn’t a concern for every park user. But Greg Andruskevich, chairman of the Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee, said the condition of the trail is starting to pose problems for some, such as runners, cyclists and people pushing baby strollers.

“I snowshoe there and it’s very hard to navigate,” he said. “You’ve got to be on your tips to get through the spots where the roots have blocked the pathway.”

The Conservation Commission, the Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department are exploring the idea of building a new pedestrian boardwalk beside the pond to help people get around the tricky portion of the Red Trail.

The dirt path has eroded so much that in places it becomes narrow, with a steep drop-off toward the pond. And in one area, half of a storm drain pipe that discharges into the pond is exposed.

The Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee proposes spending up to $20,000 from the Mine Falls Park Trust Fund to hire a contractor to design the new walkway.

A similar boardwalk was constructed on the River Run Trail adjacent to the Nashua River in 2002. The city’s tentative plan is to install the boardwalk on top of a series of piers drilled into the ground.

“Structurally, they last a long time and the impact to the (wetland) area is minimal,” City Engineer Steve Dookran recently told the Board of Public Works.

The BPW voted last month to recommend hiring a contractor to design the boardwalk, which would be sited above the existing Red Trail, and could potentially include a new outlook area overlooking the pond.

Members of the aldermanic Finance Committee will hear a proposal Wednesday to hire Holden Engineering & Surveying, Inc. of Bedford to design the structure.

The boardwalk would run between the sections of the trail labeled R48 and R49, an area adjacent to the Department of Public Works facility at 9 Riverside St.

Andruskevich said that section of the trail has been nicknamed the “roller coaster” by some park users, such as the high school students who regularly travel from Nashua and beyond to run around the pond.

For about six years, volunteers have been focusing their efforts at Mine Falls Park on cleaning up the Red Trail, putting in erosion bars and smoothing out the pathway by removing large rocks and getting rid of dead tree roots, but Andruskevich said the portion under discussion this year has been a challenge.

“We can’t get any machinery or anything in there,” he said.

After speaking with members of the Mine Falls Park Advisory Committee and visiting the site, Board of Public Works Commissioner Paul Bergeron said he’s ready to back the initiative.

“They’ve convinced me that it’s a worthwhile project, so I will support that,” he said.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to take up the boardwalk design proposal at its meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the aldermanic chamber at City Hall.

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).