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May

About the Southampton Greenway

After many years of hard work, in December 2022 the Town acquired the Right of Way for the Southampton Greenway from the Pioneer Valley Railroad.  This right of way runs 4 ½ miles north from the Westfield line to Coleman Road, where it meets the existing Manhan Rail Trail. 

The Town intends to design and build a multi-use recreational trail extending 3.1 miles north from Route 10 near Sheldon’s Ice Cream to Coleman Road.  This trail will be open to pedestrians, cyclists and possibly other uses.  In the future, the Town will explore options for connecting the Greenway Rail Trail with Westfield’s Columbia Greenway.

Early in 2023 the Town engaged the local civil engineering firm of Tighe & Bond to begin the multi-year process of designing the rail trail.  This work has been funded by a generous grant of $300,000 from the 2022 MassTrails Grant Program, with a match of $100,000 from the Town in the form of Community Preservation (CPA) funds, as well as a $320,000 2023 Mass Trails Grant with a CPA match of $65,000.

During 2023 the Tighe & Bond team completed surveying, base mapping, wetlands delineation and condition assessment of the bridges and culverts.  On November 15, the engineers from Tighe & Bond led a successful Greenway information session that was attended by about 130 people. During 2024 Tighe & Bond will complete a “25% Design” for submission to the Town of Southampton and MassDOT.  Completion of this 25% design in fact represents roughly 70% of the total design work for the Greenway.

A third grant application has been submitted to the 2024 MassTrails Grant Program to fund further design and engineering work. The design process is expected to take another 1.5 to 2.5 years to complete, after which the construction of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Path will be put out to bid.  It is expected that construction funding for the trail itself will be provided by the Federal government, though other funding sources may be need for parking, signage and other amenities.

Please check this site for regular updates as the design process moves forward. Contact the Greenway Rail Trail Committee (greenway@townofsouthampton.org) with comments or questions at any time.

 

Southampton Greenway Q&A

Where will the Greenway Rail Trail begin and end?
The Greenway will begin at Route 10 (near Sheldon’s) and run 3 ½ miles north to Coleman Road, where it will connect with Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail.

Who will be able to use the trail?
The trail will be available for use by pedestrians and bicyclists.  Other uses, such as by equestrians, will be considered during the design process.

Will the trail connect with Westfield's Columbia Greenway?
This is possible in the future but is not currently under discussion.  As of Spring 2023 the City of Westfield is in the early stages of exploring options for extending its Columbia Greenway to the Southampton line.  Westfield ’s decision on this issue may be an important factor in Southampton’s decision on whether and how to develop a route from Route 10 south to Westfield.

What will the trail look like?
We expect that like the Manhan Rail Trail and other rail trails in our region the Greenway Rail Trail will be paved and wide enough to allow travel in two directions.  The design process will ensure that accessibility and safety features will conform with MassDOT guidelines, so that the trail will be accessible and safe for all potential users.

How much will it cost?
The design process is being funded by a series of MassTrails grants, with roughly 20% matching funds from the Town of Southampton. Construction will be funded by the Federal Government. The Town will be responsible for ongoing costs of maintenance and repair (The design process will include projections for these costs.)

How can I have input to the process?
Southampton residents will be invited to provide input and feedback at several steps in the design process, probably beginning with an open meeting in mid to late Summer of 2023.  Community meetings to seek comments and community input will occur multiple times during the 2 - 3 year design process. **The first opportunity will be on Wednesday, November 15, 2023 at 7pm at the Norris School, where Tighe & Bond will host an information session and public forum about the Greenway.**

Please feel free to contact the Greenway Rail Trail Committee (greenway@townofsouthampton.org) with comments or questions at any time.

 

Background Documents

Feasibility Study Complete (large file)

Offer to Purchase Railbank Agreement

Railroad Right of Way Deed

Environmental Assessment 2017 Study

Bridges and Culvert Conditions 2017 Study

Overview Trail Map

 

Grants

Mass Trails Award 2021

Mass Trails Award 2022

Mass Trails Award 2023

Contacting the Greenway Committee

Email: greenway@townofsouthampton.org

Mailing Address:
Greenway Committee
Town Hall
210 College Highway, Suite 8
Southampton, MA 0107

Members of the Greenway Committee

Select Board Liaison - Joy Piper

Position Name Term Expires
  Aaron Tauscher Completion
  Doric Dods Completion
  Paul Furgal Completion
  Ellen Senghas June 30, 2024
  Mark Kassis June 30, 2024
  Michael Buehler June 30, 2025
  David Desrosiers June 30, 2025
  Janet Brown June 30, 2025
  Vacant  

Photos

Railroad Views

Gunn Road Trestle