Grant to Spur Trailside Development in Easthampton
Updated Nov. 11, 2012: Easthampton will be receiving $2.75 million in MassWorks grants to provide new infrastructure between the Manhan Rail Trail and the mills on Pleasant Street. The announcement came Friday during a press conference held by Massachusetts Lt. Governor Tim Murray and other state and local officials at the Millside Park which adjoins the trail.
The funds will provide new water lines and underground electrical service as well as a wider area behind the mills to allow for emergency vehicle access. Ultimately, mill owners Michael Michon, Will Bundy and James Witmer hope to connect their buildings and have entrances along the trail.
Plans include converting more of the mills to restaurants, commercial space and housing.
Construction Complete on Coleman Road Section of Manhan Rail Trail
Updated Feb. 4 2012: Construction of the southern extension of the Manhan Rail Trail is complete. In September, crews laid down the first layer of asphalt also known as the binder. Root barriers, fences and benches were then installed followed by the top coat of pavement. Landscaping has been completed and most signage has been installed.
The three-quarter mile section stretches from South Street in Easthampton to Coleman Road in Southampton.
Before construction could begin for this project the area needed to be cleaned of asbestos which was spilled there decades ago by a zonolite plant at the end of Wemelco Way.
Removal of the contamination by the Environmental Protection Agency allowed both construction of the trail and the installation of a new sewer line along the trail bed.
Conditions for the asbestos cleanup was agreed upon by the EPA, along with former owner WR Grace and current owner Olden Properties. The work began last fall, overseen by engineering firm of O’Reilly, Talbot and Olkun.
Bids for the trail construction and sewer project were opened by MassDOT in January with the lowest of the 18 bids coming in 38% below the $1.18 million dollar estimate.
Necessary wetland areas were excavated, backfilled with wetland loam and hydroseeded with a wetland mix. Crews removed soil and railroad ties before sewer pipes were installed.
View a PDF containing more information or visit the EPA web site at: http://www.epaosc.org/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=6096
Rail Trail Link to Northampton Open
Updated Nov. 12, 2011: The new connector between Easthampton and Northampton is already seeing a fair amount of bike and foot traffic.
The Manhan Rail Trail bridge over Route 10 was dropped into place early last fall. The bridge is a key piece to the trail connector recently constructed between the two cities.
A ribbon cutting along with a Grand Opening and Rolling Party marked the official opening of the new section May 22.
The new link connects the bike path in Northampton which ends at Earle Street near the Smith College Equestrian Center, to Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail at the intersection of Ferry Street and Pleasant Street.
The $4.6 million project is being funded primarily through federal stimulus money. Five construction bids were submitted and opened August, 2009. Mass Highway awarded the contract and preliminary work began two months later.
Finishing touches including painted trail markings and signs have recently been added. The Manhan Rail Trail Committee plans to install benches and some other enhancements in the near future.
Construction of the trail’s second bridge, this one over the Manhan River, adjacent to Lovefield Street, is also complete.
The three sections of the bridge were installed in September and the ramps leading up to the bridge were paved and lined in early November.
Connecting the two cities by a rail trail was identified as a top priority in the recently completed Easthampton Master Plan. The new connector has been met with a great deal of enthusiasm by local trail users.
Southampton Trail Plans Moving Ahead
Updated March 25, 2012: Southampton Greenway Committee Chair Michael Buehler reports that their feasibility study was completed and accepted by their Select Board in April 2011.
A seven-member committee was formed with the task of facilitating the acquisition of the rail corridor from the Pioneer Valley Railroad from Coleman Road to Route 10 near Sheldon’s Ice Cream. The group is also charged with facilitating the design and construction of the greenway.
To date, they have focused on identifying funding streams, negotiating with the Railroad and engaging in outreach to the residents, town leaders, elected state representatives and other greenway groups.
For more information on the progress of the Southampton Greenway, contact Michael Buehler at: Mbl@bostonraremaps.com, or get involved with the Southampton Greenway Friends group at: firstname.lastname@example.org
New Map of Area Bike Trails Available
Local cyclists and visitors now have an updated bike trail map at their disposal. The Friends of the Northampton Trails and Greenways along with the Friends of the Manhan Rail Trail produced the map which is now being distributed for free through local libraries, bike shops and other outlets.
The map includes “zoom ins” on both Easthampton and Northampton downtowns which allow for detail on local trails and roads. The map also includes parking information and the location of rest rooms throughout the network of trails in both cities.
Production of the color maps was funded by small advertisements on the document. Both Friends’ groups extend sincere thanks to all the businesses and organizations that helped to support this project including:
Southampton Bicycle Center
MassBike (Pioneer Valley)
Northampton Cycling Club
Pedal to Properties
The Trailside Gallery
Sugar Maple Trailside Inn
Good for the Soles
Construct Associates, Inc.
Modern Myths Comics and Games
Bidwell Strategic Marketing and Branding
F J Rodgers Company
Florence Soft Serve
The Mill River Greenway
Mt. Tom’s Homemade Ice Cream
The East Village Cafe
Also, a special thanks to Paradise Copies, Inc., Nick Horton, and J. Caris, E. Hartenian and A. Nyren of the Smith College Spatial Analysis Lab.