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Bay Colony Rail Trail Meeting Set May 30

Volunteers are needed to help with many aspects of the project, including a feasibility study, fundraising, event planning and more.

Those interested in helping to develop the through Needham are encouraged to attend a meeting on Wednesday, May 30 at the .

"There has been some good progress on the trail over the past six weeks [since] we last met—including town meetings in Medfield and Dover, each of which passed an article to provide funding for additional research on the rail trail," Bay Colony Rail Trail advocate Tad Staley wrote in a letter sent out via the town's listserv on Monday morning, May 14.

"Needham town officials continue to move fast, and we have an opportunity to get 1-3 articles on the warrant for a special town meeting in October," Staley continued. "Because the rail trail is on the town's goals for 2012-13, we are able to move a bit faster than the other towns. Also, because Needham has access to CPA (Community Preservation Act) funding, we may have a funding source that will move the project along faster as well."

Needham is one of several communities looking to develop a connected path of rehabbed, no longer used railroad tracks that stretches seven miles from Medfield in the south (1.5 miles), up through Dover (3.5 miles) and through Needham from Needham Junction to the Charles River (2 miles), crossing into Newton. Each town has a group developing its own stretch of trail, with a final goal of having one continuous path for passive recreational use—walking, running and biking.

Volunteers interested in helping with the Needham portion of the trail are encouraged to attend a meeting on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the PSAB. At the meeting:

  • James Goldstein, will have a draft copy of a petition being developed in Needham based on a successful Newton petition. Help is needed to gather signatures. "The goal here is to demonstrate that we have widespread support for the project by the time a vote reaches Town Meeting," Staley said.
  • Supporters are planning a trail walk event on Saturday, June 9. Help is needed to plan the event.
  • Work continues on developing a full feasibility study, and volunteers are needed to assist with that effort. "Tasks involve further research on many issues, so that the document will address questions that will be raised when the trail goes up for town vote," Staley said. Technical writing help is also needed to structure and organize the document.
  • Trail advocates are looking to raise up to $100,000 to cover design work (some of which might be funded by Community Preservation Act funds). Fundraising options will be discussed at the May 30 meeting.

For more information about the Bay Colony Rail Trail efforts, call Karen Peirce at Needham Park and Recreation at 781-455-7521.

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