Trailside Mill Project Completed
Updated July 19, 2016
Construction the Pleasant Street Mills project adjacent to the Manhan Rail Trail has been completed. The trail between Union and Ferry Streets was closed occasionally during construction in late 2015 and early 2016 but has reopened.
The construction was part of Phase III of the Pleasant Street mills project in Easthampton. The work added a large number of parking spaces behind the mills, along with landscaping and lighting.
Your patience and cooperation during the trail closures was greatly appreciated. Thank you!
For a bird’s eye view of the construction project in late June 2015, check out this video taken by Pat Brough using his drone:
Manhan Rail Trail Cleanup Day 2015
A hardy crew of volunteers spread mulch during trail cleanup day, May 2. The group spruced up the garden area around the mural on the trail between Payson Avenue and Union Street, and also at the Coleman Road entrance.
This annual clean up is part of the larger downtown clean up day, sponsored by the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce.
It’s a great way to meet like-minded folks and feel good about giving back to the community. We hope to see more of our trail friends helping out next time (May 7, 2016)!
Hilltown Charter School Students Help Out
Fifth and Sixth graders at the Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School in Easthampton have chosen the Manhan Rail Trail as their community service project. The students set up a booth at the school’s Winter Fair in December 2014 and handed out maps and brochures.
The students are also considering an art project that may include a permanent installation along a sections of the trail. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting project!
We are thrilled to have young people involved in maintaining and improving the trail and look forward to working with them.
3rd Trivia Night Successful!
Our third Trivia Night fundraiser was a great success! Our rag-tag trivia team did a great job and almost $850 was raised. The event was held April 18, 2015 at the Meeting House on Route 9 in Hadley (in the former Hadley Village Barn Shops).
A special thanks to Gary Laprade for organizing this event!
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.
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, organizations and individuals who helped to support this project.