“At the time, even when I moved into my house, which is near here, which was 28 years ago, it was all woods. Woods and oak field,” says Burn, a member of Westborough’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Ad Hoc Committee.
Monday night, at Westborough’s special town meeting, the committee wants voters to take the next step toward building a section of a multi-use trail that, long-term, would “connect Worcester to Framingham,” Burn says.
The committee seeks $22,000 from the open space reserve account to secure easements for about 4.5 miles of the potential trail, from the Southborough border to Park Street, he says.
The special town meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday in the Westborough High School auditorium.
The 4.5-mile stretch spans from the Interstate 495 office parks to Park Street, Burn says.
“We’ve talked with a number of the landowners, and most of them are willing to give us the easements. So, the town isn’t looking to spend money to buy easements,” he says.
“Before you can build a trail in here, you’ve got to have something that legally says that this area is the area you can legally build in. So, we need to survey the property. And that’s what the article’s about.”
Town Counsel Gregory Franks would do the easements, Burn says.
If article passes, “we’ll talk to each landowner. And if the landowner is willing, and right now, we have about 13 or 14 easements to get, and we’ve talked to eight of the landowners, and they’ve expressed the willingness. And we have alternatives for many of these things,” Burn says.
Most of the land is already surveyed, requiring “putting together legal language that’s already there,” Burn says.
The committee would hope to approach the property owners within the winter, and have “a good portion of this secured by next summer,” Burn says.
The next step then would be to “get volunteers out here to do some clearing,” he says.
“That would only make it available for mountain bikes and walkers at first,” Burn says.
“At the same time, we’re going to be working with local businesses, and looking for some grants, to put down stonedust.”
If voters say no on Monday night, “we’ll regroup, and think about it. We could go for a grant to get the money to do the easements,” Burn says.