The Town of St. Johnsbury has been awarded $35,000 in cleanup funding to create the Three Rivers Path Trailhead Center.
The Agency of Commerce and Community Development’s Brownfields Program is sub-granting the monies from its Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund program, which was originally capitalized through grants from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant is earmarked to cleanup asbestos and lead at the site.
The derelict two-story building at 195 Bay Street has been vacant since 2006. The property was acquired by the town of St. Johnsbury in 2012. Redevelopment of the property has been stalled due in part to a lack of funding for hazardous waste abatement and building demolition.
“The grant will enable the town to put other funding resources towards amenities at the trailhead, including a sheltered picnic pavilion, picnic tables, a water fountain, and landscaping,” said Town Manager Chad Whitehead. “This project serves as a catalyst for the transformation of the Bay Street Riverfront for new uses focused on outdoor recreation.”
The Brownfield cleanup funding will leverage a previous Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant commitment of $425,000 for the greater trail expansion and redevelopment project.
“St. Johnsbury should be commended for their efforts to revitalize this blighted area and for infusing additional resources into this outdoor recreation project,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Deputy Secretary Ted Brady, who represents Governor Phil Scott on the NBRC.
The overall project capitalizes on local and regional assets which include the shops, services and cultural attractions in the designated downtown, and the recreational scenic potential of the Passumpsic River. The extended trail expects to bring a portion of Lamoille Valley Rail Trail users to the downtown, the most densely populated area of St. Johnsbury. The path extension, trail improvements and the Three Rivers Trailhead Center is expected to be completed by September 30, 2019.