Hello, friends! February brings several important advances for the Medfield rail trail initiative.

Warrant Article

The Medfield Bay Colony Rail Trail Study Committee is working with  town officials on final language for a warrant article. The article, to be voted on during Town Meeting (Monday, April 30, 7:30 pm at the high school),  would authorize the Board of Selectmen to enter into a lease with the MBTA for the purpose of constructing of a multi-purpose recreational trail on the unused railroad in Medfield.

DCR Grant

The Friends of the Medfield Rail Trail, together with Medfield’s Town Planner, have submitted a Department of Conservation and Recreation grant for funds under the Recreational Trails Program. At the Feb. 6 meeting the board of selectmen approved the grant application. If awarded, the funds for the grant can be used to reimburse costs of construction for the rail trail. The amount of the grant is $50,000 and we can apply for it each year of the development of the trail. This grant could be larger (up to $100,000) if we can demonstrate the regional importance of our rail trail.

Coordination with the Norfolk Hunt Club (NHC)

Last year NHC expressed concerns about the rail trail initiative. This year, the Friends of the Medfield Rail Trail and the Bay Colony Rail Trail Association have pledged to work with NHC to minimize any negative impact to riders and, in turn, NHC has rescinded their opposition . We plan to allow horseback riding on the trails – not just allowing horses to cross at designated points. In fact, the rail trail will provide NHC an alternative way of riding to the Medfield State Hospital (important on Thanksgiving Hunts), requiring a simple crossing at Harding Street versus a quarter-mile “hack” down three streets (School, Wright and Harding).

Board of Selectmen Meeting

As part of obtaining approval for the DCR grant submission, the FMRT and the town selectmen discussed pending issues with the rail trail. Specifically, the new cooperation with the Norfolk Hunt Club and further research on liability insurance have eased their main concerns.

Minutes aren’t yet available, but you can view the discussion in the video of the meeting (discussion begins at 2:15:37 and ends at 2:33:13).

Next Steps

For supporters of the rail trail, here’s how you can help:

  • Build community support: To get the votes needed , we need to build awareness about the rail trail among our neighbors, gain support and ensure attendance at Town Meeting. Contact me today to  lead our Community Support committee
  • Contribute: We are optimistic that the Rail Trail warrant article will pass. The Friends of the Medfield Rail Trail are starting a fund raising campaign NOW in support of construction of the trail. Help us with a  donation.
  • Volunteer:  Email me to be contacted by  our Community Support and/or Fundraising committees as they begin their initiatives.

We’ll schedule a meeting of volunteers soon and post the day and time in our next article and on our newsletter. Speaking of our newsletter, subscribe today and don’t miss the latest news on the rail trail.

We’re looking forward to a great year for the rail trail! Thank you for your interest and support.

 

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