Rail Trail Project Construction Begins!

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May 012015
 

Thanks to the enthusiastic support of hundreds of Needham families, the hard work of a core group of volunteers and the professionalism and focus of Town staff, work has begun in the rail trail project. In this phase, rails and ties are getting removed by construction contractor McConnell Enterprises of Braintree. The removal process is expected to take about three weeks.

Photos from the first week below:

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Rail Trail Plan in Place for 2015!

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Dec 272014
 

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.

Followup From Public Meeting with Town Officials

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Oct 172014
 

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.

The Trail Moves Closer to Reality

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Oct 102014
 

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:

BCRT Needham: Spring 2014 Update

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Jun 122014
 

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.

Phasing and Costs of the Trail in Needham

Updated Rail Trail FAQ

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Mar 172014
 

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) Continue reading »

Remarkable News: The State Steps Up

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Jan 152014
 

Last night at the Needham Board of Selectmen meeting, our state representative Denise Garlick announced that the state had evaluated our request for funding the trail more closely, and determined that we qualified for the full $70,000 originally requested.

dgarlickIn November, Rep. Garlick received preliminary word that the State would fund $40,000 of our request. However, at the Ways and Means Committee meeting on this subject, it was determined that the project is well structured and the needs clearly defined, so the State actually increased the amount it would contribute to our project.

This is incredible news: it means that we are at 92% of our goal – within $18,000. This provides enough confidence that we can begin planning for the trail project itself, as early as this summer.

There is still more to do, of course, and the trailheads at High Rock and Charles River Streets would add considerable value, once we identify additional funding.

But in the meantime, thanks to Rep. Garlick, who has been steadfast in her support of the project, we are within spitting distance of getting the trail started!

Fresh City Steps Up

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Dec 222013
 

Here’s a chance to enjoy a meal out, buy a great gift, and support the rail trail at the same time.

Our friends at Fresh City on Needham St. in Newton have made two generous offers to Bay Colony Rail Trail supporters:

Thinking Fresh Gift Card Sales: Buy gift cards at Fresh City Newton and 20% of the gift card purchase will go to the Bay Colony Rail Trail. You can buy a gift card from Shawn Lander, General Manager, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-9 and Saturdays from 11-9. Bring the attached coupon with you, so Fresh City will have a paper trail of the number of people participating in this promotion.

Fresh City Newton Event on Monday, January 27: Bring the coupon to Fresh City Newton on Monday, January 27, and 15% of the sales from people using the coupon will go to the Bay Colony Rail Trail. The promotion applies to dine-in and take-out.

Please note the promotions are at the Fresh City Newton Location:

241 Needham Street, Marshall’s Plaza, Newton, MA 02464

You can print out extra copies for your friends or just forward this email along to them.

Fresh City coupons

The bottom line: The more folks that visit Fresh City in Newton, the more they’ll contribute to the rail trail.

BCRT Needham: Not Your Average Rail Trail

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Nov 062013
 

Each month Needham’s Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant selects a local cause to support, and in November that cause is our own Bay Colony Rail trail project in Needham. NYAJ’s says they chose BCRT because they “believe in its value to the community and want to contribute to its success.”

NYARTHere’s the Deal: NYAJ’s has designated Monday, November 18th as the date when they will set aside an amount equal to 15% of all purchases made by Bay Colony Rail Trail Association supporters in the Needham restaurant.

To qualify for the donation, we (the BCRT supporters) must identify ourselves to servers with Not Your Average Cause certificates.

Here is a link to the NYAJ / BCRT certificate.

Not Your Average Joe’s will write a check to BCRT for 15% of all purchases made by supporters on that date. The more Bay Colony Rail Trail Association supporters who participate, the more money they’ll donate to the cause!

So we suggest a group outing, and hope to have as many supporters as possible join us at NYAJ’s Monday the 18th at 6:00pm. If you can, call ahead to reserve a table. It would be great to fill NYAJ’s with BCRT Supporters!