Meeting to be held to discuss potential rail trail extension | News


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WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – A virtual meeting is being held in Westfield to discuss the potential extension of the Columbia Greenway Rail Trail.

Monday, we told you that this extension would run through residential neighborhoods in the city, something residents living there are not too happy about.

The State Department of Conservation and Recreation funded a grant for an analysis of the best possible route to connect Women’s Temperance Park to Southampton Road.

Western Mass News spoke with City Engineer Mark Cressotti. He told us that three routes were considered:

A, which would run up Montgomery Street near Westfield High School through the area around the Powdermill and Armbrook Dams then exit onto Southampton Road by the elementary schools.

B, which would follow Pioneer Valley Railroad tracks to I-90 then follow route A.

And C, which would follow Union Street then cut east to Springdale Road, up Industrial Parkway to the MassDOT multi-rail trail.

Right now, route A is the preferred method, found by a design firm to be the most logical. That path would run through neighborhood streets, something people who live there are saying would be a disruption.

We asked Cressotti about complaints he has received.

“I’ve got pushback from neighborhoods saying, ‘oh my god, my real estate prices are going to go down, I’m going to have people stealing, there’s going to be thievery and parties,’” Cressotti said. “All of that, number one, has not transpired, and the actual fact is that actually, real estate prices increase because of the proximity of a rail trail or an off road accommodation.”

He said that this is not set in stone and they will take public opinion into account.

People are expected to speak out at Tuesday night’s meeting.

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

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