Despite a few unexpected hurdles, we’re making progress and are fully committed to ensuring the success of this endeavor.
CSX Agreement Update: We’ve been actively working to secure the necessary CSX agreement for the bridge over the tracks at Pleasant Hill. While there has been a delay in this process, I’m pleased to report that the project team is diligently addressing all requirements. The current estimated delay of around six months in obtaining this agreement will allow us to ensure all necessary details are ironed out. This careful approach will ultimately contribute to the seamless execution of the project. As a result, we now anticipate the bid for construction work to be released around the beginning of 2024. We believe this additional time will enable us to build a bridge that not only meets but exceeds all expectations.
Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Permit Renewal: The DEP permit for the project is due for renewal, and we’ve already embarked on the process to ensure that all requirements are met with a new reviewer. The project team is currently working diligently to confirm whether a new permit process is needed or if we can activate the original project permit through specific activities. We are taking a proactive approach to navigate this aspect of the project, ensuring that all necessary permits are in place to proceed smoothly.
MaineDOT Funding Commitment: I’m delighted to share that the Maine Department of Transportation’s commitment to maintaining their funding for the project remains unwavering. Despite the unexpected challenges, such as the sale of the rail tracks from PanAM to CSX, MaineDOT recognizes the importance of our project and the progress we’ve achieved thus far. Their continued support underscores their confidence in our project team and our ability to overcome obstacles, ensuring that this project remains on track for success.
We are grateful to the full dedication of the project team, led by the Town of Scarborough’s Town Manager, Tom Hall, to bringing the Eastern Trail’s Close the Gap project to completion. Together, we’re working to overcome challenges and are excited as ever about the positive impact this project will have on our communities.
We truly appreciate your ongoing support and patience as we work to create a literal and figurative bridge that will stand as a testament to connect people and communities. Additionally, I wanted to take a moment to personally express my unwavering commitment. First as a project donor and now as a trustee, I have been involved in this journey for the past five years, and I am truly excited about seeing this project through. Together, we have encountered unexpected twists, and your continued support, as fellow champions of this endeavor, means the world to me and reinforces our collective dedication to creating a legacy we can all be proud of.
Finally, as we bid farewell to Jon Kachmar, who is wrapping up his final few days with us, we’re excited to share that the search for a new Executive Director is already underway. We’re confident that this transition will bring fresh perspectives and new opportunities. We are grateful for your ongoing support during this period of change.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further information. Thank you once again for being a part of this journey with us.
See you on the Trail,
President, Board of Trustees
More Close the Gap Campaign Resources
Go here to see helpful Close the Gap campaign resources that provide more details, images, and documents suitable for viewing and printing.
Go here for a one-page Fact Sheet and Summary about the Close the Gap Campaign.
Most Recent Press:
- The Eastern Trail to “Close the Gap” between South Portland and Scarborough with connecting expansion (1/20/2023 Portland Press Herald article)
- Eastern Trail completes final trail easement between Scarborough and South Portland (1/10/2023 News Center Maine article and video report)
- Eastern Trail completes $4.1 million ‘Close the Gap’ campaign (12/30/2017 Portland Press Herald article).
- Eastern Trail Alliance Reaches $4.1 million Fundraising Goal (12/30/2017 U.S. News and World Report online article).
Thanks to all of our partners!! We could not have been this successful without every one of you. Bicycle Coalition of Maine, PACTS, Town of Scarborough, Maine, City of South Portland, Maine, Town & Country Federal Credit Union Maine and Maine Department of Transportation, to name just a few.
The Eastern Trail is a vital multi-use trail of state-wide significance in Maine. The trail extends 65 miles from South Portland to Kittery, and travels by scenic woods, tidal marshes, and classic Maine villages. Since its creation sixteen years ago, the trail has provided millions of people with a recreational and transportation resource that connects them to the beautiful Maine landscape.
But a key piece of trail is missing in Scarborough. A 1.6-mile “gap” interrupts off-road travel between South Portland and Saco. The construction of this critical trail segment, which includes two bridges will close this gap and provide 16 continuous off-road miles reaching from South Portland’s Bug Light to Downtown Saco. The cost to close this gap is $4.1 million dollars.
A formal fundraising campaign, “Close the Gap” has already raised $4 million toward the goal of $4.1 million. The Maine DOT views completing this segment as the “highest priority” trail project in the state, and has committed $2.05 million towards its completion. In addition, the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System (PACTS) has generously committed over $1.1 million towards the project. The balance of the funding for the project is being provided by generous individuals, as well as municipalities, corporate and non-profit partners, and in-kind services in the way of construction materials and labor. Can YOU help us??
To date, significant contributions have been received from:
- Town of Scarborough, and the City of South Portland $287,000
- Town and Country Federal Credit Union, $100,000
- Eastern Trail Alliance, $100,000 ($50,000 to match $50,000 from private donors)
- Caiazzo Family of Scarborough, $30,000
- Thompson Family of South Portland, $26,000
- WEX, $25,000
- Quimby Family Foundation $25k
- Avangrid, $25,000
- IDEXX, $25,000
- Morton Kelly Charitable Fund, $20,000
- Davis Conservation Foundation, $10,000
- Proceeds from John Andrews Memorial 5k, $14,000
- Additional private donations of $81,850
Go here to view the complete listing of Press Coverage since the beginning of the campaign.