Squannacook Greenways is proud to announce that we have been awarded an $18,000 grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts to kickstart a fundraising drive for the construction of the Squannacook River Rail Trail.
The planned Squannacook River Rail Trail will be a 3.7 mile stone dust rail trail on the existing MBTA rail bed, with a western end in Townsend center. It will travel east just south of Route 119, passing behind the Harbor Village Shopping Center, where it will parallel Townsend Road in Groton until it reaches the Bertozzi Wildlife area.
Unlike other rail trails in Massachusetts, the Squannacook River Rail Trail is not being built by a town or the state. The trail is instead being built by our local non-profit, Squannacook Greenways. All the money needed to build this trail will be raised by Squannacook Greenways.
This is possible because we are building a stone dust rail trail, which is much less expensive to build and maintain than a paved trail. Our total budget for the 3.7 mile trail is between $150,000 and $200,000. For comparison, a paved trail in Massachusetts is estimated to cost about one million dollars a mile. Our trail will cost 1/20th of that per mile.
With this generous grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, along with money given directly by our board, we are already at 15% of our goal, before we have even started external fundraising.
One of the motivations for building the Squannacook River Rail Trail is to provide a safe alternative to busy roads such as Route 119 for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially the youth of our community. With this grant as the foundation of our fundraising campaign, we hope that the day will come much sooner when there is a safe route for everyone wanting to ride or walk from one part of our towns to another.