History of the MRGT
In a report to the non-profit Concord Conservation Trust, Woodward Planning Consultants, Inc., documents a goal of "creating, for the benefit of the general public, a trail system, throughout the greenway along the more than 14 miles of embankments of the Merrimack as it meanders through the City."
As part of its response to public comments on the design of the Interstate 93 widening project, the NHDOT hires Rizzo Engineers to study the feasibility of a bike path between Concord and Salem, NH. Rizzo determines it is feasible and recommends an option that includes the reuse of miles of abandoned railroad rights of way between the state line in Salem and the Concord/Pembroke City Line.
The Friends of the Northern Rail Trail open miles of new trails on what once was a rail line connecting Boscawen and Lebanon. The plan is to build it to within about one half mile of the Concord/Boscawen City Line.
A group called the New Hampshire Rail Trail Coalition forms around a major ambitious objective of building a continuous off-road trail from Salem to Lebanon. The MRGT would be the connecting link between Pembroke and Boscawen.
December 7 -- The Bicycling Subcommittee of Concord's Transportation Policy Advisory Committee (TPAC-Bike) holds a very well attended public meeting to obtain resident input for Concord's first "Bicycle Master Plan". The desire among participants for bike paths and trails is a common theme throughout the meeting.
May 26 -- The Board of Directors of Concord 2020 votes to appropriate $18,000 to the Central New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission (CNHRPC) to study the feasibility of building a multi-use trail along the Merrimack River.
August 20 -- Fay, Spofford and Thorndike (FST) Engineers is selected as the consultant to study the feasibility of building a trail along the Merrimack River.
14 -- The Concord City Council accepts the Feasibility Study and authorizes City staff to work with trail advocates to raise funds and build the trail.
July 14 -- 46 volunteers, with the help of City employees and equipment, remove 30 cubic yards of trash from the east bank of the Merrimack River, south of Loudon Road, in less than two hours.
October 19 -- "Friends of the Merrimack River Greenway Trail, Inc.", is registered as a nonprofit corporation under New Hampshire law.
November 1 -- Incorporators of the Friends of the MRGT ratify the corporation's bylaws, expand the Board of Trustees to 9 members, and appoint officers.
November 14 -- The Board of Trustees meet in their official capacity for the first time.
November 16 -- The Board of Directors of the Central New Hampshire Bicycle Coalition pledge a contribution of $1,500 as start-up funding for the MRGT.
December 12 -- Friends of the Merrimack River Greenway Trail Trustees and Officers release the organizational Articles of Agreement and Bylaws to the public.
February 15 -- Friends of the MRGT file an application for "Tax Exempt" status with IRS.
July 22 -- We hold our first triathlon in the cornfields and the river
May -- Friends of the MRGT receives a $75,000 donation from from an anonymous donor, via The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF).
Winter -- Trustees help Concord prepare a lengthy application for a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.
January -- The City of Concord submits an application for a Land and Water Conservation Fund.
May 13 -- Friends of the Merrimack River Greenway Trail is awarded a "Well Done!" award by the Concord Area Wellness Coalition in the Community Wellness Effort category.
September 1 -- The City of Concord is awarded $100,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to design and construct part of the first section of the trail in Terrill Park. Friends of the Merrimack River Greenway Trail pledge $100,000 toward the required match.
February -- Design begins on a 150-foot section of trail and a 100-foot long section of boardwalk in Terrill Park.
August 8 -- Concord City Council renews and strengthens its support for the Merrimack River Greenway Trail and authorizes the City Manager to apply for an $800,000 boardwalk construction grant.
August 21 -- The Concord Monitor adds its editorial support to the Merrimack River Greenway Trail.
September -- The City of Concord opens the first phase of the MRGT--a 1/3-mile long section in Terrill Park. Due to COVID-19, it was a quiet ceremony, not covered by the press.
December -- Friends of the MRGT receives a $25,000 donation from the You Have Our Trust Fund of Fidelity Charitable.
June -- The Concord City Council votes unanimously to authorize the purchase of 5.68 miles of abandoned railroad, stretching from the Concord City Line at Boscawen to the Pierce Manse, near downtown Concord.
November -- The City of Concord receives word of a $275,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to aid in the construction of 3/4 mile of new trail on the MRGT in the cornfields, south of Loudon Road.