Getting Answers: concerns over rail trail extension in Westfield | News


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WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — A concerned viewer reached out to our newsroom worried about the potential extension of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail running through residential neighborhoods in Westfield.

“There are other plans apparently. They have no problem disrupting two whole neighborhoods to do this. Is a rail trail that important that you’re going to disrupt two neighborhoods for it?” said Lance Walsh of Westfield.

Walsh told Western Mass News that he received a notice letter of a public meeting from the city of Westfield on Friday about the current feasibility study to extend the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail north of the Westfield River to Southampton Road. It said, in part:

“The preferred route selected may potentially impact your neighborhood. Therefore, the city would like to invite and encourage you to join the next public meeting.”

Other people in the neighborhood told us they are planning to attend the meeting being held Tuesday night to make their voices heard that they do not approve of the project.

“I am completely against it. It is a very quiet neighborhood. We have a lot of kids that play in the neighborhood and a lot of people that walk their dogs,” said Debbie Maxton of Westfield.

The rail trail connects the south end to the Southwick Rail Trail and extends north currently to Main Street in downtown Westfield.

“At this point, we’re just stuck, so I don’t know what they are going to do as far as either implementing or not, but some of our neighbors have talked about a petition,” Walsh added.

Maxton noted, “I want them to find an alternative route. There’s no other bike trail that goes through a neighborhood that I’m aware of in Westfield and why start here?”

Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.

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