Unveiling of Heart of the Valley Project in Waitsfield!

03 31 2018

WAITSFIELD – “We are going to do some major surgery on ‘The Heart of the Valley’ this summer,” according to Mad River Path Association Board President Laura Brines.
Following receipt of final permits in late October of 2017, the Path Association is ready to go with construction that will enable more and safer walking throughout the “Heart of the Valley,” serving the Farmers Market, existing businesses from Bridge Street to Waitsfield’s two shopping centers, new businesses such as Lawsons’ Finest Liquids and the Mad River Taste Place, and a beautiful natural wetlands complex.
“It could be called a ‘park and walk’ project,” according to Brines. “We designed the project based on principles suggested by a major national walking expert, Julie Campoli, who walked with us and has worked in Irasville before. This is a project to connect people, businesses, transportation, and the outdoors.
The Path Association’s goal in the walking district will be to connect everyone, on foot or on wheels, from the Evergreen senior center and the Farmers Market all the way through Irasville, from the Big Pic to Mehuron’s and then downtown. Waitsfield’s new sidewalks make this opportunity safer and clearer.
The project – featuring walkable path surfaces, resting plazas with benches and landscaping, signage and crosswalks, and boardwalks for wheelchairs, bikes, and baby buggies – has already been supported by the Rotary Club, the Mad River Valley Planning District, and businesses that have contributed more than $10,000. The total budget, over two years, will be $65,000, with about $40,000 dedicated to the 2018 phase of construction.
“The Path Association has contracted with experts who know how to make an area beautiful for walking, and we will rely on hundreds of hours of volunteer help when construction gets going later this spring and continuing through much of the summer, in phases,” said Path Executive Director Ned Farquhar.
The plan includes a wooden fence to separate traffic and parking from the walking path under the maples on the Slow Road, paved resting plazas on both sides of the Post Office Road, a boardwalk to connect Skatium Road to the existing wetlands boardwalk, and boardwalks to Lawsons Finest Liquids and Route 100 from the Big Pic access road. There will also be improvements to the Bridge Street area pathways and facilities and plans include linking in the Mehuron’s/Mad Taco shopping center.
New investment in the walking district is drawing lots of attention. The Path Association has had more than 2000 views of a four-minute video in which Karen Lawson tours the new Lawsons Finest Liuids taproom now under construction, at https://www.madriverpath.com/newsstory.php?id=134 Business support for the walking district is strong, with endorsements from Lawsons, the Taste Place, the Three Mountain Café, Whippletree Designs, West Hill House B&B, and others. Lawsons dedicated proceeds from its 10th Anniversary celebration last Saturday to two local organizations including the Path Association.
“We will need plenty of volunteer help this spring and summer,” Farquhar stated. Potential donors and volunteers are invited to sign up on the Path website at www.madriverpath.com.