Jun 122014

The rail trail project in Needham continues to gather momentum. Though there are some hurdles still to cross, the intended project start date is September this year. Realistically, we’re hoping to have the train in place by this time next year.

The Town is currently taking the lead on the project, and has made great strides toward pulling things together, including meeting with the State on the conditions required to accept the $70,000 funding, meeting with Iron Horse Preservation Society (the outfit that can pull up the rails and ties), and beginning to mobilize Town resources to focus on the project.

From the perspective of BCRT, we will soon be reaching back out to the engineering firm for a proposal to help with the project planning and administrative work required.

Please Support Needham High School Student

NHS Junior, Patrick Caron, has put together a Kickstarter campaign for the rail trail. This was a heroic effort: Patrick initiated the effort, did the filming, solicited support from BCRTA, and navigated the Kickstarter process. We’re hoping that Patrick’s initiative will close the final $15,000 needed to achieve our target for these first phases. If you are willing to help, donations on Kickstarter begin at $1, though $40 will get you this year’s edition of the BCRT t-short, which is a harvest gold. The Kickstarter campaign is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/352360370/bay-colony-rail-trail-a-great-walking-path-for-eve.

Our fundraising target remains the same: $235,000 will enable us to get a trail in town with a stone dust surface, as well as appropriate privacy screening and safety accommodations. The Kickstarter campaign is designed to close the final fundraising gap, so please consider donating as soon as possible, and certainly before June 30!

Details of our fundraising target are shown below.

Phasing and Costs of the Trail in Needham

Mar 172014

What is the proposed Bay Colony Rail Trail?

The Bay Colony Rail Trail project aims to convert the abandoned rail corridor between Needham Junction and Medfield to a new multi-use greenway. The path will provide a safe and natural facility for hiking, walking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, roller skating, and other recreational activities.

The proposed trial will extend for 7 miles through the towns of Needham, Dover and Medfield.  (See map) Continue reading »

Jan 152014

Last night at the Needham Board of Selectmen meeting, our state representative Denise Garlick announced that the state had evaluated our request for funding the trail more closely, and determined that we qualified for the full $70,000 originally requested.

dgarlickIn November, Rep. Garlick received preliminary word that the State would fund $40,000 of our request. However, at the Ways and Means Committee meeting on this subject, it was determined that the project is well structured and the needs clearly defined, so the State actually increased the amount it would contribute to our project.

This is incredible news: it means that we are at 92% of our goal – within $18,000. This provides enough confidence that we can begin planning for the trail project itself, as early as this summer.

There is still more to do, of course, and the trailheads at High Rock and Charles River Streets would add considerable value, once we identify additional funding.

But in the meantime, thanks to Rep. Garlick, who has been steadfast in her support of the project, we are within spitting distance of getting the trail started!

Fresh City Steps Up

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Dec 222013

Here’s a chance to enjoy a meal out, buy a great gift, and support the rail trail at the same time.

Our friends at Fresh City on Needham St. in Newton have made two generous offers to Bay Colony Rail Trail supporters:

Thinking Fresh Gift Card Sales: Buy gift cards at Fresh City Newton and 20% of the gift card purchase will go to the Bay Colony Rail Trail. You can buy a gift card from Shawn Lander, General Manager, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-9 and Saturdays from 11-9. Bring the attached coupon with you, so Fresh City will have a paper trail of the number of people participating in this promotion.

Fresh City Newton Event on Monday, January 27: Bring the coupon to Fresh City Newton on Monday, January 27, and 15% of the sales from people using the coupon will go to the Bay Colony Rail Trail. The promotion applies to dine-in and take-out.

Please note the promotions are at the Fresh City Newton Location:

241 Needham Street, Marshall’s Plaza, Newton, MA 02464

You can print out extra copies for your friends or just forward this email along to them.

Fresh City coupons

The bottom line: The more folks that visit Fresh City in Newton, the more they’ll contribute to the rail trail.

Nov 062013

Each month Needham’s Not Your Average Joe’s restaurant selects a local cause to support, and in November that cause is our own Bay Colony Rail trail project in Needham. NYAJ’s says they chose BCRT because they “believe in its value to the community and want to contribute to its success.”

NYARTHere’s the Deal: NYAJ’s has designated Monday, November 18th as the date when they will set aside an amount equal to 15% of all purchases made by Bay Colony Rail Trail Association supporters in the Needham restaurant.

To qualify for the donation, we (the BCRT supporters) must identify ourselves to servers with Not Your Average Cause certificates.

Here is a link to the NYAJ / BCRT certificate.

Not Your Average Joe’s will write a check to BCRT for 15% of all purchases made by supporters on that date. The more Bay Colony Rail Trail Association supporters who participate, the more money they’ll donate to the cause!

So we suggest a group outing, and hope to have as many supporters as possible join us at NYAJ’s Monday the 18th at 6:00pm. If you can, call ahead to reserve a table. It would be great to fill NYAJ’s with BCRT Supporters!

Nov 052013

HighRock_400Last night Needham Town Meeting members voted almost unanimously to approve both articles related to the rail trail project. This means that the town may now enter into the lease with the MBTA for the right of way between Needham Junction and the Charles River at the Dover line.

Now the only thing remaining before the construction can begin is raising $235,000.

On that front, things are going well indeed. With help from the matching grant, we have raised an additional $33,008 in the past month. The benefactor has extended the grant two more days, so if you haven’t contributed yet there’s still time to double your impact.

This brings the total raised to date to a remarkable $100,421.

More Good News

Last night we announced that BCRTA has received a grant from another local family foundation, which will cover Phase 2 of the project, the $35,000 cost of the stone dust surface. With total funding and pledges of $135,421, it means that we have just under $100,000 left – we’re more than halfway there!

More To Come

Now with Town Meeting approval, we hope and expect local businesses to step up their support. Initial discussions with several established and well-known stores have gone well. Watch this space for more updates.

Finally, our State Representative Denise Garlick is working on funding at the State House. Two years ago, she added $250,000 to a State transportation bond bill for the entire rail trail, and received news last night – just before Town Meeting – that the $40,000 of that total will likely be made available soon for the Needham portion of the project.

Rail trail in 2014!

October Raffle Results

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Nov 032013

Friday afternoon at 5:00, on the steps of Town Hall, under the watchful eye of a select group of observers, Selectman John Bulian reached into the large jar of raffle tickets 12 times, and withdrew 10 third prize tickets, 1 second prize ticket and, finally, the first prize ticket.

Trek72FX-smallThe Trek 7.2 FX bicycle, donated by International Bicycle Center, went to winning ticket #420533, which was held by Megan Kerr of Needham. Congratulations Megan! Second prize, the trainer, went to Jeff Katz. Ten third prizes, BCRT t-shirts, will go to the following folks:

  • Martin Yapp
  • Alecia Domer
  • Russell Cohen
  • Roland Stern
  • Cory and Lisa Rhoades
  • Robert Smyser
  • Brenda Metzler
  • Lynne Rachlis
  • Lisa Bond
  • Scott Muldoon

In all, the raffle brought in $2,978 for the project. And because it was held during the period of  the grant that matches each personal donation, the raffle effectively delivered $5,956 toward the new trail.

Thanks to all for participating!

Oct 312013

bcrt_progress_10-30-13A mere four days remain on the challenge grant that will double your contribution to the rail trail!

The original purpose of the grant was to spur individual donations to the project. The initiative has had the desired effect, so far 114 people have stepped up to help support the campaign to deliver $8,614 toward what could be called a linear park in Needham almost two miles long.

But there’s still time to contribute, and we have not yet approached the $20,000 maximum matching sum. If you’ve been thinking about joining the growing list of supporters, truly making this a community resource enabled by the community itself, please click the Donate button in the right sidebar before 6:00 pm Monday, November 4. The suggested donation is $100, which will sponsor a foot of the completed trail.

Alternatively, you can send a check to BCRT Needham, PO Box 920560, Needham, MA 02492.

Thanks for the help!

Oct 262013

All are invited to the regular meeting of the BCRT Needham Faithful, everyone with an active interest in our rail trail project. This month we’ll review our current status, which includes many new developments since the last meeting. Thursday, October 29, at 7:30 pm.

This will also be the last chance to purchase raffle tickets for the Trek bicycle and other paraphernalia.


Iron Horse Preservation Society prepares to pull up the first of the rails.

We’ll also talk about the Newton project, which began yesterday (Oct. 25), with a ceremonial kickoff led by their mayor Setti Warren and attended by many local notables – including several of the Needham Faithful and Needham Selectman John Bulian.

The Newton project is just under a mile – half the Needham distance – and will take a few months (weather permitting): 30 days to pull up all the rails, 30 days to remove the ties. Then the surface will be applied, probably in the spring.

It will be great to have a local example of our project – and we won’t be far behind!

Please consider joining us on Tuesday the 29th at our usual location: The Public Services Administration Building, 500 Dedham Ave. There’s much progress to report, and some important areas where the project could use broad-based support.