Our friends at the Needham Women’s Club, generous supporters of the rail trail, are hosting their annual Garden Tour on Sunday, June 14. They have selected the Bay Colony Rail Trail as a primary recipient of funds raised this year.
Please consider purchasing tickets to this lovely spring event. Every ticket purchased raises more funds for the Trail and its future. Early Access Tickets are $30 and include a special presentation at the Needham Historical Society with light refreshments and early access to the Garden Tour homes.
For tickets and more information, please contact The Needham Women’s Club.
The Needham portion of the Bay Colony Rail Trail continues to move forward with energy and commitment, thanks to the leadership of Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick, and a very professional and focused Town team.
There is now little doubt: this trail is going to happen in 2015!
Although the Town’s Rail Trail Advisory Committee has not yet been formed, the Town team continues to work collaboratively with representatives of BCRT in putting together a workable plan. Here is the current status of the Needham project:
In January, the Town will issue RFPs for the removal of the rails and ties, and the construction of the path. The plan is to award the rail/tie removal contract by February 9th, with the construction portion awarded soon thereafter.
The construction portion of the contract will focus on the section of the trail from High Rock and the Town Forest to Fisher St. The shorter distance is a conservative estimate of what can be achieved with available funding, in light of the Town’s preliminary cost model for the project, which is more expensive than our original plans.
The actual distance will depend on the bids received, but the Town is confident that current funding will at least enable construction to Fisher St., and the RFP will be written to allow for extension.
The Town and BCRTA will each seek other sources of funding if the bids come in high. So we are confident that we will get the trail we all envisioned in 2015.
On Wed, October 15th, Town officials joined the regular meeting of Needham residents interested in learning more about the rail trail project in Needham. Town engineer Tony Delgaizo presented his departments preliminary designs, based on several weeks of topographical survey work. The update designs are available in seven PDF files below.
The Town’s design calls for removal of the rails and ties, followed by building up the surface with 6″-8” reclaimed material (ground up recycled asphalt from road paving projects), a layer of Filter fabric, topped with 2-4″ of Stone dust. The Town will also address Erosion control by the use of wattles.
The plans also called for safety fencing along stretches where there is a steep drop-off. These wood fences will be 42″ high, and have two horizontal rails. In some places, the Town’s design will steer the trail a few feet to one side or the other to better accommodate conditions.
There was also discussion on the BCRTA’s plan to provide support for abutters who are concerned about exposure to the trail. BCRTA has reached out to 52 abutters along the proposed trail, with particular focus on twenty that have more obvious visibility, including the Walker School. BCRTA raised funds specifically for this purpose, and will finalize a plan in the next week for specific abutter concerns.
The next scheduled event related to the Rail Trail is Tuesday, October 28 at 7:00 at Town Hall, when the plan will be presented to the Board of Selectmen at their regular public meeting.
There are exciting developments on the Needham portion of the Bay Colony Rail Trail project. The Town has gotten fully involved in the project and, working with representatives from the community, has agreed to take over development of the trail. This is excellent news since the Town has the expertise and equipment to be applied to the job, and obviously will deliver the trail to the standards they require.
This arrangement was virtually required in order to make use of the $70,000 allocated by the State through Denise Garlick’s efforts, since those funds have to be received by a municipality.
The funds we have raised for the effort are still needed, so we’re working with the Town to make sure our sponsoring of the project and our funding is used as planned and promised, so we can ensure development of the trail we all have envisioned.
Our planned start date for the project is now Spring 2015, with an anticipated completion by late Summer 2015.
Draft Plans Available
This week the Town engineering department published draft plans for the path. These plans are available to the public for review, and there will be a meeting at 7:00 pm on Wed., October 15th at the Public Services Administration Building on 500 Dedham Avenue, when Town and Rail trail officials will be on hand to discuss the plans and project plan.
The plans are divided into seven PDF files, and can be accessed at the links below:
The rail trail project in Needham continues to gather momentum. Though there are some hurdles still to cross, the intended project start date is September this year. Realistically, we’re hoping to have the train in place by this time next year.
The Town is currently taking the lead on the project, and has made great strides toward pulling things together, including meeting with the State on the conditions required to accept the $70,000 funding, meeting with Iron Horse Preservation Society (the outfit that can pull up the rails and ties), and beginning to mobilize Town resources to focus on the project.
From the perspective of BCRT, we will soon be reaching back out to the engineering firm for a proposal to help with the project planning and administrative work required.
Please Support Needham High School Student
NHS Junior, Patrick Caron, has put together a Kickstarter campaign for the rail trail. This was a heroic effort: Patrick initiated the effort, did the filming, solicited support from BCRTA, and navigated the Kickstarter process. We’re hoping that Patrick’s initiative will close the final $15,000 needed to achieve our target for these first phases. If you are willing to help, donations on Kickstarter begin at $1, though $40 will get you this year’s edition of the BCRT t-short, which is a harvest gold. The Kickstarter campaign is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/352360370/bay-colony-rail-trail-a-great-walking-path-for-eve.
Our fundraising target remains the same: $235,000 will enable us to get a trail in town with a stone dust surface, as well as appropriate privacy screening and safety accommodations. The Kickstarter campaign is designed to close the final fundraising gap, so please consider donating as soon as possible, and certainly before June 30!
Details of our fundraising target are shown below.
What is the proposed Bay Colony Rail Trail?
The Bay Colony Rail Trail project aims to convert the abandoned rail corridor between Needham Junction and Medfield to a new multi-use greenway. The path will provide a safe and natural facility for hiking, walking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, roller skating, and other recreational activities.
The proposed trial will extend for 7 miles through the towns of Needham, Dover and Medfield. (See map)
Trailblazers, the fundraising campaign for the Needham portion of the Bay Colony Rail Trail kicked off its initial, preliminary phase this past week, and in a short time local volunteers and supports have already pitched in over $5,300! This is a wonderful start to the campaign, and a hopeful indication of the broad and generous support we hope to see in Needham.
For more on our campaign, check out Trailblazers: Kicking off the Fundraising Campaign.
We have some detail on the expected costs of the trail, much of it derived from the recent Conceptual Planning and Design Study, done by FST here: The Campaign to Fund the Rail Trail in Needham.
And for an update on our progress, check out the post Tracking Our Progress, or click the chart at right for zoomed in view.
And finally, please consider donating to the campaign using the button in the right sidebar.
In the spring of 2013, funded by a grant from the Needham Community Preservation Committee, BCRTA engaged Fay, Spofford & Thorndike (FST) to prepare a Conceptual and Planning Design Study for the “Southern Section” of ROW from the Charles River at the Needham/Dover Town Line to Needham Junction. The goal of this study was to address the major items of technical interest and concern along the corridor which include, but are not limited to, trail cross section, parking and access, at-grade crossing treatments, Charles River Bridge, and abutter mitigation measures.
This study was prepared with a cross section of community input and direction. Members of the BCRTA and Park & Recreation Department directed the process. Two public information meetings were held in March and April 2013 to gather information and present the initial study results for public comment. An interdepartmental coordination meeting was held with the Park & Recreation, Public Works, Conservation, Police, and Fire Departments.
The graphical annotated overview of the trail can be viewed in detail by clicking the image below.