BENNINGTON, Vt. (NEWS10) – The town has been awarded $200,000 in grant funds from the Vermont Downtown Development Board’s Transportation Fund to get started on a new project surrounding the Bennington riverwalk. The grant money will help kickstart the Walloomsac Redevelopment Project.

The project comes following the death of Emily Hamann, who was murdered on the walkway in January of 2021. That case brought more attention to the riverwalk, and led to collaboration between the Bennington Interfaith Council, Bennington Police Department, VFW Post 1332, the Bank of Bennington, Bennington Housing Authority, and Hamann’s family, among many others.

The result of that collaboration is a plan to improve the Riverwalk Pathway. A presentation on the $200K plan is set for May 21, following a walk starting at 10 a.m. at the People’s Park on Depot Street. The walk will end with an unveiling of plans at VFW Post 1332 at 137 North St.

The plan would connect the Riverwalk Pathway to the new rail-to-trail route set to be created starting at River Street, The riverwalk would be widened, and receive new signage and lighting. The plan was created by the Better Bennington Downtown Design Committee.

“(Better Bennington) was evaluating the environment of the Riverwalk, its strengths and deficiencies, with vision toward an important community place with enhanced natural and infrastructure elements, needed repairs, quiet and active space, a showcase for the visual and performing arts, and a recreation asset connecting the rail-trail to the north, and extension east and south along a pathway envisioned into Massachusetts,” a Facebook post announcing the presentation said.