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Ribbon-Cutting November 10 for Rehabilitated Bike Paths

The University of Maine will celebrate the rehabilitation of the university’s 34-year-old bicycle paths with a ribbon-cutting Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. near the Bridge Tennis Courts beside the New Balance Student Recreation Center.

UMaine President Paul Ferguson’s wife Grace Ferguson will oversee the event.

The project, funded mostly by a Maine Department of Transportation Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Program grant, included the rehabilitation of 2.6 miles of bicycle paths and the addition of a new half-mile section from the Hilltop parking lot to Park Street.

The path is available to the public from the Orono campus to Stillwater Avenue and Perkins Street in Old Town, and now to Park Street in Orono, near the Orono Land Trust’s Marsh Island Preserve, and opposite a new student housing project under construction.

“The reconstruction of the bike path represents an important re-investment in the university’s recreational trail system,” Grace Ferguson says. “The paths are well-used by the university and Old Town and Orono communities.”

Scheduled to participate in the ribbon-cutting are Sally Jacobs of the Orono Land Trust, a long-time advocate of the bicycle paths and walking trails, Jeff Aceto, assistant director of Facilities Management for Construction Administration and Regulatory Compliance, and representatives from UMaine Student Affairs, among others.

Elaine Clark, UMaine’s executive director of facilities, real estate and planning, says the university is grateful to the Maine Department of Transportation for funding both the bike path rebuild and construction of the new extension to Park Street.

“The bike paths are important not only for recreation, but for transportation by students, faculty and staff between Orono, campus and Old Town,” Clark says.

The reconstructed paths have generated praise from Old Town and Orono city officials.

“As an avid bike path user I would just like to say ‘wow,’ quite a nice job.” Old Town Fire Rescue Chief Steve O’Malley said in an email to Aceto. He is a runner and cyclist who says he uses the trails regularly. “Thank you to all, as the bike path and university trail system contributes greatly to enhancing the quality of life in the Orono and Old Town area.”

Orono Town Manager Sophie Wilson also complimented UMaine for the work. “The improvement to the bike path will be a wonderful benefit to the community, both on campus and off,” she told Aceto.

Gardner Construction Company of Bangor was the main contractor. Lynch Construction of Holden built the new half-mile segment from the Hilltop lot to Park Street in Orono.

Contact: George Manlove, (207) 581-3756

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