Long-awaited East Longmeadow bike trail opens Sept. 9
Date: 9/7/2010Sept. 6, 2010
By Chris Maza
Reminder Assistant Editor
EAST LONGMEADOW -- The town of East Longmeadow is ready to tell its residents to take a walk.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new bike/rail trail on Sept. 9 at 11 a.m.
The event will mark the end of a 15-year saga for the trail and its creators.
"A lot of people thought the project was dead," DPW Project Manager Sean Kelley said. "It took probably four years of working with an engineering outfit to put those plans together and those plans were done in stages. At each stage, the Massachusetts Highway Department. would do an internal review of the plans, making sure they had no issues and making sure that it complied with Federal guidelines."
The ceremony, which will be attended by Rep. Richard Neal, State Sen. Gale Candaras, the Board of Selectmen as well as the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the original Redstone Trail Planning Board, will be at the trail's parking lot on Industrial Drive.
The majority of the funding for the project came from the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) from the Federal Highway Administration. The rest of the money came from state funding.
"With the assistance of Congressman Neal and others, we were able to secure the funding," Kelley said.
The trail runs from Denslow Road to Maple Street. Most of the land is owned by the town, aside from the section between Industrial Drive and Denslow Road. In order to use that land, the town had to get a permanent easement from Hasbro Corp. to use the property, according to Kelley.
The trail is open to bicyclists, walkers, joggers and those on any non-motorized mode of conveyance.
"We hope, eventually, this trail will not only be for leisure use, but that people will use it to get from point 'a' to point 'b.'" Kelley said.
For more information or to volunteer to help with the ceremony, contact Kelley at 525-5400, ext. 1203 or at firstname.lastname@example.org