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City of Gardiner receives grant from Bicycle Coalition of Maine

By August 22, 2016BikeMaine, Coalition News

This article originally appeared on Bangordailynews.com
GARDINER, Maine — The city of Gardiner is proud to announce it will receive a $12,300 challenge grant from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine to support the community’s ongoing bicycle and pedestrian projects, including the extension of the Cobbossee Trail.
This is the first of a series of annual grants, funded by proceeds from the Coalition’s weeklong BikeMaine bicycle tour, that will focus on promoting bicycle and pedestrian safety and infrastructure in past BikeMaine host communities.
After an in-depth review of previous BikeMaine communities, the Coalition decided to award this year’s grant to Gardiner to support the expansion of its Cobbossee Corridor. In 2014, Gardiner played host to more than 300 BikeMaine riders, staff and volunteers, closing Water Street for an intimate meal showcasing the culinary expertise of area restaurants, food from local farms, and providing camping in the scenic Waterfront Park.
During a City Council meeting on Aug. 24, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine will formally award the grant to representatives from the city of Gardiner.

“When I look back on turning points for our community, hosting BikeMaine really gave the community an opportunity to come together – to prove our pride in ourselves, and to put our best foot forward,” said Patrick Wright, Gardiner Main Street executive director. “I’ve always felt that Gardiner’s biggest obstacle was its own belief in itself. Hosting BikeMaine gave us an opportunity to welcome hundreds of guests from around the country – it just naturally elicited such a feeling of pride. There were so many volunteers – some of whom took a day off of work just to come and pitch in.”
Since then, Wright says that he’s noticed a marked increase in volunteerism and goodwill throughout the community.
In the past three years, BikeMaine has generated a total of more than $1 million in direct economic impact to different regions of the state through rider spending, as well as the sourcing of local products and services for the ride.
“From the beginning, BikeMaine was envisioned as an event that would allow us to give back to the amazing communities that welcome our riders with true Maine hospitality. Leveraging the power of bicycling to drive bike/ped safety as well as economic growth is a core part of the Coalition’s mission,” said Bicycle Coalition of Maine Executive Director Nancy Grant in a press release.
Over a decade ago, the city of Gardiner developed a plan to revitalize an area adjacent to its historic downtown known as the “Cobbossee Corridor”. This plan envisioned bringing people to the corridor by providing a world-class mix of the built and natural environments by encouraging mixed-use, high-quality commercial redevelopment and residential development centered around the natural beauty of the stream.
In 2009, a plan to build a ½ mile spur from the existing Kennebec River Rail Trail into the Cobbossee Corridor stalled. Though halfway through the design, the city shelved the plan due to concern over the economic conditions at the time. The trail, which is funded by an 80 percent match from Maine DOT through federal sources, remained stalled until earlier this year.
As part of a plan to re-start the project, earlier this year, City Councilors approved a budget that included funding expected to cover most of the City’s portion of the construction project – with one caveat – that the community raise additional funds to support taxpayer funded improvements.
After conversations with city officials, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine hopes to inspire this needed private support by issuing a challenge grant of $12,300 to entice others in the community to support the project.