High Rock Street could soon be a short bike ride away from the Charles River, although there are is still some work for those building the Bay Colony Rail Trail.
Patch chatted with Bay Colony Rail Trail President Tad Staley to learn more about where the trail stands now, and what the next steps are.
The rail trail project will connect Dover, Needham and Medfield together using an old, unused section of commuter rail line, which will be pulled up and replaced with a bike-friendly gravel path.
"The thing that's changed is that the trail has become one of the town's priorities," Staley noted.
He adds that Selectman John Bulian, Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick and Parks and Recreation Director Patty Carey have been a lot of help with the trail project.
In order to move forward, the Rail Trail needs two articles to pass Town Meeting.
- A lease with the MBTA for the rail space, which will cost $1 per year for 99 years.
- An insurance policy, required by the MBTA, which will get the T off the hook in the event anything harmful is found while building the rail trail.
Town Meeting Members voted to approve a feasibility study at last Fall's Special Town Meeting.
"If we get the funds," Staley told us, "A year from now, we could have the trail."
In order to get the rail trail running full steam ahead, Bay Colony needs to raise $235,000 to complete what they term phases one and two. Phase one includes Iron Horse Preservation Society pulling up the tracks (the group will scrap the rails, and keep the money, meaning they will do this work for free) and putting down a crushed stone surface, as well as maintenance and shrubbery. Phase 2 includes a stone dust surface, which is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
One of the fundraising programs the BCRTA offers is the "trailblazer," which allows donors to sponsor one foot of the trail for $100. Staley noted that, so far, 70 families have signed up. During the Month of October, one local business has offered to double any contributions.
For more information on the trail, or to donate to the project, see the Bay Colony website.
With Needham pushing ahead, Staley believes the project could get some momentum in Medfield and Dover, towns to which the rail trail will ultimately connect.
If completed a year from now, the trail could also be the fastest such project completed in the state, taking 5 and 1/3 years from inception to completion. The current record-holder clocked in at 6 years.