A Head for Business Pays Dividends for Danvers Rail Trail, Mass.

Posted 08/01/12 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Building Trails

Last year we wrote about the tremendous grassroots effort out of northeast Massachusetts to develop the Danvers Rail Trail. The Danvers Rail Trail Advisory Committee rallied the town's business community to support the extension of this popular community asset through a mile-marker sponsorship program, generating thousands of dollars for trail maintenance and creating a strong trail community in the process. At last count, 60 local businesses had paid between $150 and $500 to have their name and logo displayed along the trail.

Obviously the Danvers rail-trail community is a group with some creative business nous. This week we heard they have developed their own series of private label Rail Trail beverages, proceeds from the sale of which benefit the rail-trail. The Danvers Rail Trail line of drinks comes in a variety of flavors, including root beer, ginger ale and raspberry lime, and the label features a photo of a steam engine travelling the original Danvers line back in 1880.

The group announced this week that the award-winning Danvers Fresh Marketplace would be stocking the fundraising label--another local business conscious of what the rail-trail brings to this thriving community.

As with many locally funded efforts, the trail is a work in progress, with completed sections already very popular with locals seeking a recreational outlet or a better way to get around town. The Danvers Rail Trail Committee solved a problem wet area north of Wenham Street, and the trail is now passable from the Peabody line to Topsfield Center, a distance of 7.6 miles. The astute fundraising of Danvers locals have been a crucial part of this effort.

Is your local group doing some creative things to raise money for a rail-trail project? I'd like to hear about it. By spreading the word about what communities are doing to follow their rail-trail ambitions, we can help others across the country who might be struggling with their fundraising challenges. Email Jake Lynch at jake@railstotrails.org.

There was more good news just across the border in southern New Hampshire this week with the announcement that the state's Executive Council had approved an agreement to begin building the long-awaited 5.1-mile section of rail-trail in Salem. The Salem portion was a missing link in what will eventually be an 80-mile rail-trail between Lawrence, Mass., and Lebanon, N.H., along the disused Boston and Maine Railroad corridor. Check out the full story here in the Eagle Tribune

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