The Campaign to Fund the Rail Trail in Needham


HighRockEastTrailblazers is the name of the campaign to raise the funds needed to complete the rail trail to the Charles River at the Dover line. We are hoping to get very broad participation in the fundraising, which we think reflects the broad appeal such a public resource will have to residents of Needham.

Thanks to the work of consulting engineers at FST, who delivered a Conceptual Planning and Design report in May 2013, we now have a realistic understanding of what it will take to fund the trail. A complete copy of that report is available here (10mb).

According to the table below, which adds some consideration for maintenance and ensuring privacy to those properties bordering the trail, the estimated cost of the entire trail – all phases of the project – is $800,000. Since the length of the trail in this phase of development is about 8,000 feet, it works out to $100 per foot.

Bay Colony Rail Trail Association is a Needham-based non-profit (501c3) with the sole purpose to develop the abandoned railroad corridor between Needham and Medfield, and surrounding communities as appropriate. This funding campaign is Needham-specific: 100% your tax-deductible contribution will go toward the development of the trail. Our goal is to raise enough funds to begin development in 2014.

Your donations can be private and anonymous if you prefer, or you can join the program more publicly by sponsoring a unit of length.

  • $100 for a foot
  • $250 for a stride (an average person’s stride is 2 1/2 feet)
  • $500 for a bicycle length
  • $1,000 for a bicycle built for two

We will carefully record and proudly publicize each donation, and track the progress by filling in the distance on our Needham Rail Trail Fundraising Map. This will be a fun way to visualize our progress, and record broad community support for the effort.

To make a tax-deductible contribution, you can either use the online facility provided in the right sidebar, enabled by PayPal, though you do not need a PayPal account, or you can mail your check to:

Bay Colony Rail Trail Association
Attn: Needham Trail
23 Mackintosh Ave.
Needham, MA 02492

10-foot wide multi-use trail between the Charles River Bridge and Town Forest (8,000 feet).  Includes remediation for wetland area, stone dust surface, wood rail fence and at-grade trail / roadway crossing treatments $375,000
Trailhead parking areas and interpretive elements at Fisher Street and Charles River Street. Map of a concept design available here. $100,000
Trailhead at the Town Forest including improvements to the existing driveway, parking area, and trail connection to the Right of Way. Map of a concept design available here. $85,000
If needed*: Removal and disposal of rails and ties $120,000
Contingency: Plantings, fences to ensure neighbor privacy $20,000
Signage $2,000
Benches & other amenities $4,000
Kiosks $4,000
Escrow to cover ten years of maintenance at $5,000/year $50,000
Total Estimated Cost:

* We are still hoping that an outfit like Iron Horse Preservation Society will be able to remove the rails and ties at no cost. However, this is not a certainty so, using the figures provided by FST, we’ve added the cost here in case we have to get it done another way.