MassTrails Program Announces $4 Million in Grants for 55 Trail Projects

The Wayside Trail, part of the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail, passes an abandoned trail station at the Church Street underpass in Weston.
The Wayside Trail, part of the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail, passes an abandoned trail station at the Church Street underpass in Weston.

The statewide MassTrails program has announced the winners of its second annual round of grants, which will distribute about $4 million to 55 trail projects across the state.

MassTrails is an inter-agency collaboration between the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and MassDOT that aims to fill gaps in the state’s growing network of off-street multi-use paths and trails by providing matching funds to local fundraising efforts.

“The MassTrails Grants Program serves as a critical funding source for our many local partners who are working to improve infrastructure, create new segments, and enhance existing trails for the public to enjoy,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito in a press release accompanying the grant announcements on Friday afternoon.

Among some of the more prominent projects that will get money in this year’s round of grant funding:

  • Design and engineering work for a roughly 2 mile westward extension of the Cape Cod Rail Trail from its current terminus at Peter Homer Park in Yarmouth to Mary Dunn Road in Barnstable.
  • A feasibility study for restoring Frederick Law Olmsted’s original Bridleway Path along Beacon Street in Brookline.
  • A proposed bridge (thick red line) over the Assabet River in West Concord would put a suburban office park – the "Baker Business District" – within easy walking distance of West Concord's village.
    A proposed bridge (in red) over the Assabet River in West Concord would put a large suburban office park within easy walking distance of West Concord’s village and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (in orange).

    Design and permitting for a bike and pedestrian bridge over the Assabet River in Concord. The proposed bridge (mapped at right)  would put the town’s largest concentration of office jobs, in what is currently a very car-oriented office park, within easy walking distance of West Concord’s village, an MBTA commuter rail stop, and the newest section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

  • Construction funding for the McKnight Community Trail, a 1.5 mile shared-use path that will curve around the McKnight neighborhood in the center of Springfield.
  • Design and permitting work for an eastward extension of the Norwottuck Trail, which currently links Northampton, Hadley, and Amherst, into Belchertown (and is part of the larger Mass. Central Rail Trail, which would eventually connect from Northampton to Boston).
  • Grant funds will also help the Town of Clinton acquire its local section of the Mass. Central trail between the Wachusett Reservoir and the Berlin town line. The acquisition would include an abandoned railroad tunnel that runs beneath a hillside south of Clinton’s town center.

Last year’s MassTrails grants funded several of projects that have been featured in Streetsblog over the past year, including the Mystic-to-Charles connection feasibility study and ongoing design work for the Belmont Community Path, and we look forward to covering progress on this year’s round of projects.

 

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