Imagine: You’re a kid, it’s a beautiful day, and you want to visit Huntley Meadow, but riding or walking from Beaver Meadow Road – which has no sidewalk or bike lane – is tricky. What if you had a bridge, just for walkers and bikers like you, crossing Blood Brook to the playground and sports fields? Would you take it?
The Kids Bridge Project is in the home stretch for assembling an aluminum pedestrian and biker bridge at Huntley Meadow for all who visit Norwich. The volunteer team of outdoor recreation professionals, trail
developers, civil engineers, and builders – led by Bridge McDowell – has been planning the Kids Bridge for months in its current configuration, a fifty-six-foot truss span designed to endure extreme weather events.
The necessary state and local permits have been issued, and the manufacturer – RollingBarge – will deliver the package to the site next to the children’s playground, which has been approved by the town.
Thanks to over seventy-five Norwich families who have donated to the project – some more than once – the funds to purchase the $27,539.00 bridge have been received and the bridge package is expected to be delivered shortly before or after Thanksgiving. Fundraising will continue until donations for the project reach 100% of the budget of $31,800. In addition to local donors, several Upper Valley foundations have shown interest in the project.
In past years, there wa s a suspension bridge over Blood Brook, built by Norwich resident Scott Miller as his Eagle Scout project. Then came extreme weather events, shaking the bridge from its tree moorings until the town removed it due to safety concerns.
Many Norwich folks have fond memories of crossing that bridge. The home of the old suspension bridge will be home to the new Kids Bridge, and when completed, the volunteers who’ve given their time and energy to the project will gift the bridge to the town.
Our short building season may delay the opening of the Kids Bridge until spring, but Norwich families can look forward to a quiet walk or a speedy bike ride via the Kids Bridge on their way to school, sports practice, playground, and social events at Huntley Meadow, which, for many of us, is the heart of Norwich.
Soon, thanks to all who helped to fund and build the Kids Bridge, the dream of a safe and convenient crossing over Blood Brook to Huntley Meadow will be a reality.