BCRT status


BCRT

Photo of the newly opened Bay Colony Rail Trail in Needham.

Bay Colony Rail Trail Status

Evan Weisenfeld recently asked me what I knew about the current status of the Bay Colony Rail Trail (BCRT) in town, and since I suspect this is a topic of great interest, I will respond here where more will see it, than directly to his comment.

In my mind there continues to be strong interest to build the Medfield section of the BCRT, which,  from memory, is less than 1.5 miles long.  It would run from Ice House Road to the Dover line.  The town study committee that was appointed several years ago to look into building the BCRT, I believe, was waiting to see what Dover did, and now that Dover has voted at its town meeting last week to proceed, I expect that things will start up anew in Medfield.

Christian Donner has been our town’s longest involved proponent of the BCRT, and I read this past week that he thinks we should go ahead with the BCRT without the environmental insurance (it costs the town about $25,000, if the matching state monies still exist, and $50,000 if not), and that we should build it with the use of our DPW, town funds, and private fund raising.  If we build it from Ice House Road to the Dover line, I expect Dover would build their section out to meet our section.  The BCRT will be a great asset to the town and the region once it is built.

The financial landscape has changed because of the declining price available from  recycling the rails, so that the money earned from salvaging the rails will no longer pay for the total installation costs, as it did in the past, so funds will need to be secured for the building of the BCRT.  Needham got about $200,000 in state monies from an earmark that Rep. Garlick got passed several years ago, which they combined with monies that were raised privately.

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4 responses to “BCRT status

  1. Thanks Pete. I personally would love to see our town support this as a great way to connect to Dover and ultimately Needham and vice versa. I think this would be great for everyone. Too bad we didn’t do this when recycling the rails could have supplemented the cost more.

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  2. Pete, thanks for the update and Evan, thank you for the question. There is grant money available for recreational trails; This funding is derived from a portion of the federal gas tax but the program is administered by individual states.If interested, check out the Recreational Trails Program http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dcr/services-and-assistance/grants-and-technical-assistance/recreational-trails-grants-program.html

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  3. I would suggest waiting until Dover has actually made formal arrangements for what was acted on with their town meeting vote before Medfield moves forward with anything. It sounded like they plan on putting up fencing or otherwise stopping the trail at the Medfield and Needham ends to keep their part of the railway from connecting to Medfield or Needham over concerns of a crime wave and other impacts. http://75.150.77.214/Cablecast/Public/Show.aspx?ChannelID=2&ShowID=1834 (discussion of the rail trail starts about 2hrs 30 mins into the video)

    In a future state perhaps if Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation could take over the trail it would have the resources to connect the Medfield, Dover, Needham, and Newton sections, particularly with regard to the bridges.

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