hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


February 7, 2013

Goal: Extend trail to Groveland

City eyes building river walkway across private land

The city has its eye on another stretch of the old B&M railroad line, in hopes of extending the Bradford Rail Trail to Groveland.

The extension would give walkers and bikers another half-mile on the trail, which runs along the Merrimack River.

While the city waits for an answer, it also is making plans to improve the existing trail along the Bradford side of the Merrimack River between the Basiliere and Comeau bridges. The plan is to open up views to the river; add benches, signs and possibly playground equipment; improve access; and add landscaping to create a premier recreational site.

Mayor James Fiorentini said he hopes to begin construction this fall, with state and federal money paying for the work.

One of the signs he wants installed along the trail would explain the history of the Georgetown stretch of the B&M railroad, which he said up until the 1930s carried freight and passengers. The supper train was discontinued and it stayed as a freight line until the 1970s, then it ceased to operate, he said.

“We met with Pan Am Railways last week and told them we’d like to buy the next section of the old railroad line between the Basiliere Bridge to where the new George Washington Landing Park is,” Fiorentini said. The park is next to the Crescent Yacht Club, just east of the Basiliere Bridge.

“The first thing we have to do is come up with an appraisal, then agree on a price, then find the money,’’ he said. “I’m very hopeful that we can extend that trail. My goal is to extend it all along the river until we get to Groveland.”

Fiorentini said that is some cases the city owns land along the river that would be used to extend the rail trail. National Grid and private developers also own land — but the city has easements for putting in a trail.

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