The Creek Path is up to three segments.
Organizers and local officials gathered at Meadow Street Playground on Friday for the ribbon-cutting of segment four, which runs for 1,200 feet between the playground and River Street. Segment three was temporarily skipped over but is up next.
“We have to celebrate our successes, and this is a great success to see another segment of Rutland Creek Path happening,” said organizer Susan Schreibman, who bicycled the length of the path from Giorgetti Park with a handful of other backers just before the ceremony. “What a great collaborative community project this is.”
The development of the path has been a volunteer effort, funded by grants and private fundraising. The first two segments run from Earle Street, near Giorgetti Park, to West Street. The third, when built, will connect those to the fourth at the playground. The fifth and final segment will continue on from River Street to College of St. Joseph.
Developers originally planned to do the segments sequentially, then decided to save segment three for last due to the expense of rehabilitating the bridge over East Creek. Earlier this year, organizers announced they were moving the middle segment back up in the schedule. Organizer Paul Gallo said engineering would begin in the next couple months.
“We’ll be connected to Giorgetti Park,” he said. “We’ll have a lot better flow.”
For segment four, Schreibman said Riverside Veterinary Clinic, the Diocese of Burlington and Mount St. Joseph Academy all donated easements, and that the clinic was discussing placing a dog water fountain on the path. Numerous in-kind donations allowed them to cover the local match without tapping any of their privately raised cash, she said, letting the group apply that money toward segment three.
Gallo said the state officials who handle the grants used in the project were amazed by the level of in-kind donations.
“It’s not happening anywhere in the state,” he said.
Gallo said segment three has a roughly $1.3 million budget. Gallo said they have the necessary grants but were still working to cover the 10% local match.
“We’re good,” he said. “We’re just looking for those in-kind and cash pledges. We’re about halfway there. Put the word out.”