Sep. 14—HAVERHILL — There's a new option for hikers, bikers and boaters in Haverhill, thanks to an effort by the city to convert what had been an overlooked pathway into a quarter-mile trail at the southern edge of Round Pond (Lake Pentucket).
The city announced last week that it had cleared, widened and graded the quarter-mile stretch to make it more inviting to walkers and bikers.
The newly improved trail connects the end of Stanley Drive — where there is a boat launch — to Concord Street and features a stone dust surface and a metal bench at the halfway point.
Mayor James Fiorentini said the city used an earmark of $50,000 obtained by state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, in last year's state budget.
"This is part of our never-ending commitment to improving Haverhill's park's, playgrounds and trails with emphasis on making our city walkable and bikeable," said Fiorentini, who happens to be a cycling enthusiast himself.
City Human Services Director Vincent Ouellette said the path that leads from Stanley Drive to Concord Street was never a prepared trail and was difficult to navigate because of rocks, tree roots, dead trees, overgrowth and other obstacles.
"We now have a fully reconditioned trail for use by walkers and cyclists," he said. "You can park on Stanley Drive, where there is a launch for canoes, kayaks and rowboats."
He said gas engines are not allowed on Round Pond, which is part of the city's drinking water supply. Paddle boarding and swimming are not allowed either. However, fishing is allowed. The pond is also a popular winter destination for ice skating, but only when the ice is thick enough.
Andrew Herlihy, the city's Community Development Department's division director, said the work to prepare the trail included removing a lot of dead ash trees that were affected by the ash borer beetle, and removing other dead trees along the edges of the pond.
"We also did some drainage improvements and improvements to access from the parking area," he said. "We hope to bring the senator out here for a visit."