FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (207) 284-9260
April 25, 2012 (Saco, ME) – The Eastern Trail Alliance will hold an official Opening Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16 for its newest section of trail, which stretches from Thornton Academy in Saco to Milliken Mills Road in Old Orchard Beach and includes a bridge that spans Route 1 in Saco just north of Ross Road. The ceremony will take place at the trailhead on the Thornton Academy campus in Saco.
The Saco-OOB section, completed in January 2012, has already greatly increased public interest in, and use of, the entire Eastern Trail, thanks to its high visibility from two areas of the busy Route 1, Saco corridor and I-195. The new section’s 4.4 miles provides another crucial link in the development of this 65-mile greenway in southern Maine.
“Fourteen years ago a small group of area residents said, ‘Let’s make this old rail line into a trail,’ and we are now reaping the benefits,” said Eastern Trail Alliance President Bob Hamblen. “A big ‘thank you’ is due the voters of Saco, who approved a $500,000 bond in 2008 that made this possible.”
The opening ceremony’s invited guests include representatives from Saco and Old Orchard Beach; Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt; Unitil, the New Hampshire gas company that owns most of the historic rail corridor; Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins; Congresswoman Chellie Pingree; section design firm Deluca-Hoffman Associates; and section building contractor Shaw Brothers Construction.
When completed, the Eastern Trail will connect the Piscataqua River in Kittery with Bug Light on Casco Bay in South Portland with a mostly off-road greenway. The Eastern Trail follows the route of the historic Eastern Railroad, the first rail line connecting Boston and the Portland area. It extends through 12 communities in York and Cumberland counties. The Eastern Trail is the Southern Maine portion of the 2,900 mile East Coast Greenway, which stretches from Key West, Florida to Calais, Maine.