In early November, my husband and I went to Leominster for the 1st Annual Massachusetts Trail Conference, sponsored by the MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board (MARTAB). The day was full of lots of good ideas from people who have successfully built trails in cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. We are hoping to use their advice and ideas here in our neighborhood. One of the best presentations was about the economic benefit of trails – increased property values and hikers who eat at restaurants (tourism). I only hope that I can present this information to others as well as it was presented to me.
Our Thanksgiving Day walk was on the Bay to St. James section of the rail trail – it was hit hard by the snowstorm just like the rest of the city. The difference is that no clean up has been done there- lots of broken branches are lying on the trail. It was a lot like walking in the woods.
Having received the letter of support from the State Street Alliance, I have now submitted a new grant application to MassMutual. Back in May or June, we were given a verbal promise of “some” funding contingent on the support of the State Street Alliance. Now that we have the State Street Alliance on our side,
let’s hope we get the funding for an engineering survey. We don’t expect to hear until at least March.
While we wait, we will kick around ideas for smaller projects. People keep asking me if we have done a title search. I have been told that this might cost anywhere from $400 to $200,000 – maybe not a small project. A simple search of state and federal databases for any record of reported environmental contamination might only cost about $500. A recent suggestion is to put in a stone dust path on the trail behind and adjacent to Rebecca Johnson School. Two arguments in favor of the stone dust path – one, a tangible beginning of the trail that has been talked about for almost two decades; two, the land is already owned by the city.
Last winter I ventured onto the trail with my granddaughter. It was hard because the snow was so deep that I kept falling through. This year I am ready – I have snow shoes!