Abandoned railroad may be converted into bike path
TOWNSEND -- The longstanding discussion over building a "rail trail" in town will continue at the Board of Selectmen's Aug. 16 meeting.
The plan calls for a 2.4-mile stretch of the town's abandoned railroad line to be converted into a path for biking or walking.
"It would provide a safe biking alternative to Route 119, which is a very dangerous road for children on bicycles," said Bill Rideout, member of the Squannacook River Rail Trail Feasibility Study Committee.
The committee has presented several plans to the town in recent years, and has scaled down the project's scope since the last proposal in July 2003.
The previous plan called for a 9.4-mile trail running through Townsend and Groton. The latest proposal envisions a trail beginning at the Townsend line behind the Harbor Village Shopping Center, and ending at Depot Street.
All construction costs will have to come from federal and state sources, Rideout said in an interview Wednesday.
Board of Selectman Chairman Dan Murphy voiced concern about the rail trail's eventual cost to the town.
"The town may end up having to maintain it," he said Wednesday.
Murphy also noted that the board had asked the study committee to contact abutters of the proposed trail.
Rideout said the committee has taken input from abutters and subsequently made some changes to the original plan.
According to the new plan, a 200-yard section of the trail would be shifted 20 feet further away from abutting homes in Townsend Harbor, Rideout said.