Rail Trail Opening Celebration includes Bike Rodeo, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, and Community Green Up
The public is invited to celebrate the official opening of the new Bennington Rail Trail with a Bike Rodeo and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, May 6, from 10 am to 12:00 pm. The event will be held in the parking lot located behind the Bennington Fire Station along Lincoln Street.
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There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Town of Bennington, the Bike Hub, and community partners to officially mark the opening of the new Bennington Rail Trail. The ceremony will be held at 10 am to start the event. The community is invited to join us for a cleanup of the trail in honor of Green Up Day. The Town will provide garbage bags and will arrange for the garbage pickup afterwards.
The Bike Rodeo will be from 10 am to noon and features free food provided by the Bennington Police Association, free bike helmets and helmet fittings, and of course the popular Copsicle wagon will be on hand giving away free popsicles to attendees. Bring your bikes! Kids can take the fun bike safety course and be automatically entered for a chance to win a new bike. The event is also part of the Youth Appreciation Month being promoted by the Alliance for Community Transformation (ACT). The Bike Rodeo is supported by the VSECU.
The Bike Hub is excited to be part of the ribbon cutting ceremony which will open this critical portion of the path and expand the cycling infrastructure in town. The group will be on hand after the ceremony helping to “green-up” the path by hauling trash and recycling debris with bikes and trailers. Additional volunteers (and bike trailers) are welcome, please visit www.ourbikehub.com/events for more information. The Bike Hub was formed a little over a year ago and has successfully opened a bike shop in the former Highland Bike Shop as well as building a community cycling education program. The Hub, has also been helping to gear up local cyclists with safety equipment and even bikes. Donated bikes have been given new life by volunteer “bike angels”. These bikes are made available at low and no cost to those in need. Bike donations are always welcome when the shop is open Thursday-Saturday 10 am to 6 pm. More information is available at www.ourbikehub.com
The Bennington Rail Trail has been a long time coming… about thirty years! It was a pre-existing project that landed on assistant Town Manager Dan Monks desk back when he was first hired as the zoning administrator 25 years ago. The main hurdle for the project was obtaining permission to use the railway bed from the railroad. In order to get the railroad company to agree, the project included building a new “run around track” which allows the train to move the locomotive from the front to the back of the train so it can reverse direction. This new track was a major part of the cost of the project which was $1.7 million dollars. 90% of the cost was covered by State and Federal funds. “I’m glad to finally get this project off my desk!” says Monks “it’s a great addition to the recreational opportunities available in our community.”
The new Rail Trail links the Walloomsac Pathway in Downtown Bennington and the Orchard Village / Willow Brook trail, as well as the Ninja Trail. It’s an important addition to the Town trail network and is already proving popular. We encourage the community to join us in celebrating the Bennington Rail Trail.