WILMINGTON -- A footbridge that connects Main Street to the Hoot, Toot and Whistle Trail, over the Deerfield Valley River, was opened to the public this past weekend.
"We're very excited about this bridge and the connection this bridge will allow us to do," said Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy.
On June 1, residents and guests were allowed to walk across the footbridge. They also were invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony, where a plaque was given to Barry and Marsha Reardon, who donated the bridge to the town.
Murphy mentioned that earlier in the week, before the bridge's grand opening, TransCanada had notified him that it would assist the town in finishing the Hoot, Toot and Whistle Trail.
A foot path from the bridge to the Moover building is part of a work scope that the town has committed to finishing up. There are still patches of the trail that are not ready for walking across yet.
By next summer, Murphy said, the trail will connect to the Moover building and a picnic area also will be completed.
Barry Reardon said the process began 15 months ago, when he read about the Wilmington Trails Committee. In the article, he saw one part of the committee's plans called for a bridge from the downtown area to the Hoot, Toot and Whistle Trail.
"I talked to John Green (of the Trails Committee)," said Reardon. "I said, ‘We'll build it for you.
Reardon wanted the bridge to be at least 8 feet wide so it was big enough for pedestrians to pass each other as they walked across.
He started looking at companies that specialize in bridge construction and found 25 different companies.
"Then I picked out eight then narrowed it to two," he said. "We wanted the company to be based in Vermont, so I talked to Renaud."
On Oct. 16, 2012, Reardon made a deal with Renaud Brothers, a construction company out of Vernon. The outcome was a plan for a foot bridge to be delivered this May.
"They came through," said Reardon. "You see this bridge?"
On May 15, the footbridge was put in its place. Three trailers set the crane up the day before. The bridge was delivered in three sections and each part was 40 feet long.
"The bridge was perfect," Reardon said. "It fit right in. We're very happy to give this bridge to you."
Wilmington Selectboard Chairwoman Meg Streeter spoke about the Reardons before a plaque was given to the couple. She thanked them on behalf of the town.
"They have done so much for Wilmington," said Streeter, mentioning their donation of hundreds if not thousands of books to the Pettee Memorial Library. She said the Reardons also assisted with painting the Twin Valley High School and have donated to various other causes in town.
The plaque reads, "Reardon's Crossing. A gift to the town from Barry and Marsh Reardon. June 2013."
"We always wanted this for the trail and the town," said Barry Reardon. "It has nothing to do with the Reardons."
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.