Column: Celebrating the Tri-Community Greenway
You may have noticed a brand new recreational trail coming to life over the past year. The new 6.6 mile Tri-Community Greenway starts at Ginn Field in Winchester and ends at Recreation Park in Stoneham. The paths are paved, the crosswalks are painted, and the markers are set. Just a few more weeks of work remain before the trail is fully complete and officially open!
There were many times in this project’s 30 year history when reaching this milestone seemed nearly impossible. As each obstacle was overcome another one soon presented itself. It is a testament to the dedication, determination, and hard work of the “true believers” through the years that the vision of the Tri-Community Greenway has finally been realized.
I hope that, one day, a book will be written about the history of this project with its many twists and turns. I will only share a brief summary here. When my involvement with the project began in 2008, after I was first elected state representative, the plans for the Tri-Community Greenway had already been underway since the early 1980s. At that time, the Town of Stoneham acquired a long unused section of the former Boston and Maine railroad from the MBTA, with the understanding that this land would be devoted to public recreational use. Soon after, Stoneham resident Cameron Bain began his quest to convert this property into a multi-use recreational path that could be enjoyed by all members of the community. In the mid 1990s, Winchester resident Jill Behrens wrote her graduate thesis on the restoration of a Winchester greenway along the banks of the Aberjona River. In 1999, Winchester, Stoneham, and Woburn came together and signed a memorandum of understanding to facilitate the design and construction of the aptly named Tri-Community Greenway and Bikeway. The project design took more than a decade as numerous challenges were faced and gradually overcome. Finally, in late 2016 the design was completed and MassDOT put the project out to bid. Construction began in the spring of 2017 and is expected to be finished very soon. The total design and construction costs of more than $6 million were funded by state and federal transportation dollars.
I believe that this investment of time and money will prove to be very worthwhile. The Tri-Community Greenway will offer significant and lasting benefits for the residents of our communities, and will be an invaluable resource for the entire region. Connecting transportation hubs, schools, businesses, municipal buildings, parks, playgrounds, and neighborhoods, this path will offer wonderful new recreational opportunities for families, provide an environmentally friendly means of transportation, create new opportunities for exercise and wellness, and promote local economic development.
The Tri-Community Greenway has always been a collaborative effort, and many people contributed their time and talent along the way. We owe a great debt of gratitude to everyone who made this project possible, particularly Cameron Bain and Winchester Town Engineer Beth Rudolph. Thank you!
I hope to see you out soon walking, jogging, cycling, roller blading, skate boarding, pushing a stroller, or just relaxing on a bench as you enjoy the new Tri-Community Greenway.