4 History of the Bruce Freeman Trail in Sudbury 1982: Freight service suspended and EOT purchased corridor to preserve it for public uses; 1985: Rep. Bruce Freeman of Chelmsford convenes meeting of all towns from Lowell south to Sudbury to discuss the development of a rail trail connecting the communities; 1985: Sudbury staff conducts first Feasibility Study of the trail within Sudbury; 1986 Town Meeting supports the concept of a non-motorized transportation corridor; 1987: State conducts Feasibility Study of proposed Trail; 1988: Town forms first Rail Trail Committee; 1989: MA Legislature signed bill formally creating the Bruce N. Freeman Bike Trail; 1989: Sudbury completed it’s Trail Linkages Report and identified this corridor as an important non-motorized linkage to other public places; 1998: Town Meeting adopted “Character of Sudbury Statement” which emphasizes development of opportunities to protect natural resources while enjoying and appreciating nature, recreation, and our history and traditions;
5 History of the Bruce Freeman Trail in Sudbury (cont.) 2000: Sudbury’s Open Space & Recreation Plan identified the creation of new trails, walkways, bike trails, and greenways a “top three” priority (after maintaining town character and preserving wildlife habitat); 2001: “Sustainable Sudbury” Master Plan stated the need to preserve and enhance amenities within the limits of our natural resources while the preserving Town Character. Bike and walking paths were noted as one way to accomplish this goal. 2004: New Rail Trail Conversion Advisory Committee (RTCAC) formed by Selectmen; 2005: Town Meeting approves $25,000 for a new Feasibility Study; 2007: Based on recommendations from the RTCAC, Selectmen request CPA funding for a total of $145,000 for three additional studies to determine if a rail trail can meet the objectives of the above Plans.
6 Report on Feasibility Study/RTCAC 1. The RTCAC developed technical specifications for the RFP for the feasibility study 2. The firm of Fay, Spofford & Thorndike was chosen to conduct an Environmental & Engineering Assessment. 3. The assessment study was directed at a subset of the many issues presented to Town Meeting in 2005. 4. The assessment concluded that it is feasible to convert the former rail corridor to a rail trail from an environmental and engineering perspective but also noted that additional activities are needed to determine the Town’s desire and ability to advance the rail trail project forward. 5. The RTCAC will continue to study the full set of issues set forth at the 2005 Town Meeting that were beyond the scope of the feasibility study.
7 ARTICLES 22, 23, & 24 The Selectmen are committed to investigating in a factual, logical, and public manner a trail design that fits Sudbury. Should the end result of the investigation process show that there are reasonable trail options that can address environmental, economic, and other concerns, the Selectmen will present recommendations in favor of proceeding with trail development to the voters at a subsequent Town Meeting. At this point, more information is needed and no recommendation is being made to the voters for the design and construction of a rail trail. The only request before you tonight is for limited funding to answer questions arising from the Feasibility Study.
8 ARTICLES 22, 23, & 24 To accomplish further investigation, we need to determine: 1. if the right-of-way is legally unencumbered; 2. the extent of wildlife functions and values of the right-of-way; and, 3. develop a base map of the right-of-way, including delineation of all wetland and other sensitive areas or areas with unique issues.
9 TITLE SEARCH (Article 22) -$15,000 - NEED TO HIRE SPECIAL COUNSEL - NECESSARY LEGAL EXAMINATION TO DETERMINE OWNERS AND RIGHTS -REQUIRED FOR OBTAINING A LEASE OF THE R.O.W. FROM THE STATE -TO BE COMPLETED BEFORE ANY OTHER TOWN EXPEDITURES OF FUNDS A vote in favor is NOT a vote for the rail trail
10 Four-Season WILDLIFE STUDY (Article 23) - $25,000 - TO BEGIN AFTER AN ACCEPTABLE TITLE SEARCH; - TO DETERMINE IF THERE ARE ANY WILDLIFE HABITAT AREAS PROTECTED UNDER FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL REGULATION WHICH WILL BE ALTERED TO THE EXTENT THAT ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS PERFORMANCE STANDARDS CANNOT BE ACHIEVED; - REQUIRED FOR FUTURE WETLAND PERMITTING UNDER STATE and LOCAL LAW; - SCOPE OF RFP TO BE DEVELOPED BY SUBCOMMITTEE OF TOWN MANAGER, RTCAC, AND CONSERVATION COMMISSION A vote in favor is the first step to protect our valuable wildlife habitat
11 SCOPE OF WILDLIFE STUDY It is the intent of the Selectmen and Town Manager to make the most of this funding by following the DEP "Wildlife Habitat Protection Guidance for Inland Wetlands" which includes the Wildlife Assessment Guidelines to use for a habitat study. This information will be required for wetland permitting in the future should the town go forward with the trail.
12 EXISTING CONDITIONS BASE MAP (Article 24) -$105,000 -TO BE COMPLETED AFTER AN ACCEPTABLE TITLE SEARCH -CONDUCT A FULL SURVEY MAP OF THE R.O.W. SHOWING: - Topography at 1’ contour intervals; - Full extent of all state and locally-regulated wetland and upland resource areas, including riverfront areas; - Drainage structures and watersheds; - State Estimated and Priority Habitat areas for rare & endangered species; - Drinking water wells and Zone II areas; - Historic landmarks and features, heritage landscapes, etc - Encroachments - Public & private road crossings A vote in favor will provide the tools on which to base future decisions
13 WHY NOW? - Necessary steps to continue the Feasibility Determination - Continues the information gathering process - Continues the MA Highway Dept. process should the Town decide to seek state and/or local funding - Provide information that will be useful to the Town officials and voters to decide whether or not the BFRT project moves ahead - Keeps the Town, not the State, in control of the project The right-of-way is owned and controlled by the Commonwealth of MA
14 -Allow further necessary investigation of the legal, engineering, and environmental issues; - Allow the Town to make decisions based on fact rather than assumption; Voting in FAVOR of Articles 22, 23 & 24 WILL
15 Obligate the Town to move forward with the design, construction, or expenditure of any additional funds for the BFRT Voting in FAVOR of Articles 22, 23 & 24 WILL NOT
16 ARTICLES 22, 23, & 24 Voting in favor of Articles 22, 23 & 24 is not a vote for a rail trail. It is a vote authorizing a responsible process for factual investigation. Any negative findings during these investigations may temporarily or permanently stop the trail. Positive findings will only allow the voters to decide if they wish to proceed to the next step.
17 Conclusion The Selectmen are committed to investigating in a factual, logical, and public manner a trail design that fits Sudbury. Should the end result of the investigation process show that there are reasonable trail options that can address environmental, economic, and other concerns, the Selectmen will present recommendations in favor of proceeding with trail development to the voters at a subsequent Town Meeting.