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Trails Committee makes progress on Center Trail to Chamberlain Road extension

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Featured: News, News

The Trails Committee at its meeting Wednesday night discussed the slow but steady progress being made on the Center Trail to the Chamberlain Road extension.

“The price of free work is that it moves slowly and on its own timetable,” explained member Chuck Dauchy.

The land has been cleared for a trail connecting the southern end of the Chamberlain Road Extension to the Hopkinton High School Field 13 area, he explained. Another branch will run north from near the Chamberlain cul-de-sac to the area near Field 11. But some depressions need to be filled in by the contractor to make the surface smooth.

Dauchy noted that he has been working with consultant Beals & Thomas on wetlands permitting and design issues regarding the work near Field 11. His hope is that the work will be completed this season.

Chair Peter LaGoy added that the proposal for the additional work there estimated the cost at $6,500. The original contract was for $18,000 in 2022, he said. Under state contracting regulations, he explained that a contract could be modified so that additional expenses can be limited to 25% of the project cost, which would lower the additional amount to $4,500.

Committee members can perform some of the work, such as notifying abutters, which also will lower the cost.

Another aspect of the project is the upcoming installation of bridges on two wetlands crossings there, Dauchy noted. The project previously was approved by the Conservation Commission.

He ordered the lumber to create the crossings, which will be about 40 feet in length. The lumber delivery is expected at the end of the month, after which volunteers and/or contractors will perform the installation.

Progress made on trail signage

Member Linda Chuss proposed four areas for trail signage that will be used to gauge public feedback on them. There was a discussion as to whether the trail names could be included because some of the sites are known by multiple names depending on where a person enters a trail.

The initially proposed sites included the Hughes Trail, the Center School Trail, the Pratt Trail and Cameron Woods. The signs would have an arrow below a trail image that would direct users. Signs would be double-sided to alert people from both directions to trail entrances and exits.

Putting trail names on signs proved problematic in some cases. One example is that the Center School Trail links to the Elmwood Farms Trail, so users may be confused. The Cameron Woods Trail also is referred to as Sylvan Way and Whisper Way.

The use of maps versus QR codes on the signs was debated. Dauchy noted that people might get more help if they took a picture of a map. Chuss countered that a QR code would alert people to other trails they didn’t know existed.

Added Chuss: “Signs are for a lot of people who don’t know about trail map sites.”

The committee decided to hold off on the Cameron Woods signage, prioritizing Center Trail signage instead.

The ultimate goal of the signage, according to LaGoy, is to “encourage the 18,000 people who are not aware of Hopkinton’s trail systems to use them.” To that end, he spoke with members about the need for trail connectivity, suggesting shared use paths to connect trails.

He asked members to come up with ideas for areas that could use trails or that would benefit from connections to link current trails.

Said LaGoy: “Connectivity is what folks are looking for.”

Fitness equipment installation project confronts delay

Delivery problems have stalled the installation of fitness equipment proposed by Scout Srivar Yerramsetti to be placed off of Center Trail just north of the Loop Road intersection, LaGoy told the committee.

Originally proposed as an Eagle Scout project last September, Yerramsetti and volunteer Scouts marked the 30-foot-by-24-foot area in December. A sit-up bench, pull-up bars, horizontal bars and a balance beam were expected to be installed.

LaGoy said there have been communications “hiccup” issues with the company from which the fitness equipment was ordered. The Holliston-based company “dropped off the radar,” he explained. No money has been spent yet, and the order will be canceled via Dave Daltorio, the town engineer and facilities director.

LaGoy discussed ordering the equipment from another vendor with committee members. Because of time constraints for earning Eagle Scout status, Yerramsetti has had to take on another project. LaGoy hoped that once the equipment arrives, another Scout would be interested in completing the project.

He complimented Yerramsetti for the “fair bit of legwork” he completed on the project, noting that the supply issue was “frustrating.”

Priorities for next meeting discussed

LaGoy said the next meeting will include a reorganization of the committee. He noted that the committee is a member short. This seat usually is held by a person representing the Parks & Recreation Commission, although that person doesn’t necessarily need to be a member.

“There’s been a huge amount of benefit for people who are not experienced in trail development,” LaGoy said, noting that members bring new perspectives and skills.

He also stressed the need for the Select Board to approve its charter, which was submitted last October. Member Fran DeYoung was tasked with approaching the Select Board about getting the issue on its agenda.

Berry Acres was proposed as an ideal area for connectivity.

1 Comment

  1. Mark

    Any trial/street map illustration of the project would have been awesome… Thanks!

    Reply

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