03 Aug Esq. Jon Cartu Reports – Chelmsford Rail Trail Maintenance, Repair Project Edges…
CHELMSFORD, MA — If you’ve ever wondered why the Town hasn’t fixed the bumps from all the roots along the Bruce Freeman Trail. Well, with the help of a $90,000 grant from the state, the Town is edging closer to doing just that.
The Baker-Polito Administration Monday awarded $4 million in MassTrails Grants to 55 local trail projects, including Chelmsford, throughout the state. The grants are supposed to support the state’s network of trails with projects dedicated to the construction, maintenance, and improvements for a variety of public trails, including hiking trails, bikeways and shared-use paths.
MassTrails grants are matching grants and require that proponents provide a minimum of 20 percent of the total project cost or in-kind services. Chelmsford has committed to putting another $22,810 toward the maintenance project.
The funds will be used to make repairs to more than 2,000 linear feet of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail that has suffered significant root incursion since the opening of the trail in 2009. This naturally occurring phenomenon degrades the quality and safety of the trail, creating a liability for the Town and those who walk, run and cycle on the trail.
For years, residents have been pushing for the completion of the 25 mile trail that would run from Lowell to Framingham, through Chelmsford and Westford. The 6.8 miles long stretch from Lowell, through Chelmsford, and Westford opened in 2009 and a portion that runs through Westford, Carlisle and Acton about 4.9 miles opened in 2015. A section in Concord runs about 2.5 miles long.