The residents and businesspeople of Saugus, close to the Massachusetts coastline, are celebrating today with the long-awaited beginning of work on their section of the Northern Strand Community Trail.
"I think it's awesome," Saugus Board of Selectmen Vice-chairmen Steve Castinetti told the Daily Item last week. "It's a huge step up for the town, and I think it will bring a lot of interest to the town. This is a win-win for the business community, as well, if we could get people from outside of Saugus to just ride through town and see what there is to offer."
The Saugus section is part of what will one day be a 10-mile rail-trail between Everett, to the southwest, and Lynn, east of Saugus on the shores of Nahant Bay.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is especially pleased to see work beginning on this formally abandoned section of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority railroad line. In 2011, RTC and The Coca-Cola Foundation awarded Bike to the Sea, Inc., two grants totaling $12,500 to provide a match for an $84,000 Recreational Trails Program grant to aid the trail's construction.
According to the Daily Item, work is also under way in nearby Malden, and "in the pipeline" in Revere. However, the city of Lynn is being described as a "holdout" on the project.
Thanks to a partnership with a group called Iron Horse, Saugus will get a 2.5-mile gravel trail with recycled asphalt for "next to nothing." Iron Horse will remove the rail line tracks and ties, which they then sell for scrap metal. With this profit, Iron Horse will construct the trail.
Congratulations, Massachusetts! The Northern Strand Community Trail will be a great addition to the growing rail-trail network in the Northeast.