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Trails Committee reviews committee charges, approves Scout project requests

by | Sep 28, 2023 | Featured: News, News

The Trails Committee revised drafts of its charge and the one it proposed for the beleaguered Upper Charles Trail Committee at its meeting Wednesday night.

The committee made some edits to the new version of its charge as well as its proposed recommendation of changes to the UCTC’s charge. Discussion on the updated charges began at the August Trails Committee meeting. The updated drafts will be reviewed and then submitted to the Select Board for consideration at an upcoming meeting.

In the UCTC version, the Trails Committee referred to the UCTC as the name it proposed — the Upper Charles Trail Building Committee, or UCBC.

Members said that language should be modified regarding UCBC’s input on Trails Committee projects. While the previous version leaned toward a reciprocal voting relationship on project funding, members noted that many of their projects would have no connection to the proposed Upper Charles Trail.

Chair Peter LaGoy noted that, for example, the Trails Committee could want stone dust on a proposed trail. If the UCBC were to prefer a paved surface as part of reciprocal voting input, it could impact a trail to which the UCBC has no direct relationship.

LaGoy also said that UCTC members “haven’t been necessarily, in my opinion, representing the wider town” in their previous decisions.

Member Linda Chuss recommended that language be modified to say that the UCBC would have input on trails that would connect to or impact the proposed Upper Charles Trail. Other members agreed.

If proposed trails affect both groups as far as competing funding requests for grants, they both should have input in the decision, LaGoy added. Chuss noted that there would be a joint member on each committee as per the Trails Committee proposal.

Language also was changed to include trail contractors and consultants, which would be approved jointly by a two-thirds majority vote.

Scout projects approved

Scout Srivar Yerramsetti presented his plan for installing fitness equipment off of Center Trail just north of the Loop Road intersection. It was approved unanimously. This equipment will include a sit-up bench, pull-up bars, horizontal bars and a balance beam that will be installed in a 30-foot-by-24-foot area. He compared his design with a similar project completed in Holliston.

Member Chuck Dauchy said Trails Committee members should supervise where Yerramsetti wants to place the equipment. Stakes with flags can be placed where Yerramsetti plans to put the equipment for the committee’s review. Dauchy offered to provide the stakes. The Police Department should be informed when the equipment is being installed, and it should be inspected by Dave Daltorio, the town engineer. Yerramsetti also offered to check with the equipment manufacturing company. Mulch or stone dust will be placed in the area around the equipment.

“This is a very ambitious and well-researched and organized project,” said member Janine LeBlanc. “Nice job.”

Clearing will be done in the fall so that the equipment can be installed in the spring.

The committee also unanimously approved the request of an Eagle Scout to construct a pedestrian footbridge at Berry Acres Trail.

The Scout, Ethan Davan, explained that the pedestrian bridge will be placed at “a beaver-flooded area at that section of the trail.” It will consist of three 10-foot wooden sections across the flooded area to form a 30-foot bridge about 100 yards into the trail at the trailhead at East Main Street. The high school junior anticipates beginning construction as soon as possible and completing it this fall with the help of other Scouts. Lumber will be carried in by hand.

Davan noted that the wood will be cut at his house to prevent sawdust from contaminating the ecosystem of the site. Parents will supervise the construction, along with either LaGoy or Dauchy.

Discussion held on possible CPC funding requests

Members noted that applications to the Community Preservation Committee are due by Oct. 12 for funding requests. One suggestion for a proposal was for funding to purchase property at the south end of Echo Trail to allow a connection from the western trail route to the Milford parking lot. Another was for funds to purchase a 60-acre landlocked parcel behind the rail bed on East Main Street owned by Merylyn Mezzitt. Parcels around the Center Trail also were discussed for a potential funding request for purchase. No decisions were made at the meeting.

Committee considers developing its own website

Chuss proposed that the Trails Committee develop its own website via Google rather than continue to seek town input because connecting with the town’s Information Technology Department “has been a struggle.”

She noted that all of the files the committee previously provided to the town were lost there and would have to be resubmitted. She planned to model the independent web page on the sites of the Sustainable Green Committee and the Hopkinton Area Land Trust. There would be a link on the committee’s page on the town website.

Chuss noted that “it is not unusual” for committees to create outside websites. The Open Space Preservation Commission also is contemplating creating its own website, she explained.

1 Comment

  1. Anne Marcy

    So if someone gets hurt using the fitness equipment, is the town liable??

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