Dover-Sherborn Letters to the Editor: Vote ‘yes’ for rail trail

Many of our front doors are just 40 feet from the rail bed. We support the Dover Greenway and say “YIMFY” — YES IN MY FRONT YARD!

To the Editor:

Many of our front doors are just 40 feet from the rail bed. We support the Dover Greenway and say “YIMFY” — YES IN MY FRONT YARD!

As abutters on Hawthorne Lane and Clover Circle, we are confident the best use for this abandoned railway is to provide a recreational trail. We are seniors, young people with small children and every age in between looking forward to a walk on level ground. This trail would be a place where folks with walkers, wheel chairs or baby strollers can easily maneuver. This provides important health benefits to those who cannot traverse the other narrow, rocky trails in town.

In plain English, a rail-trail is preservation with a purpose. If Dover does not keep the option to convert the rail bed to a recreational path, then someone else will come in and do something with it. And all the other options should be of grave concern to all who live here.

Any utility can lease the land from the MBTA and actually pave it, install gas pipelines, clear cut trees — without any recourse by the town. And they have done so in other towns. And any other organization can lease it and put in their own idea of a trail, connecting it to Needham and Medfield.

The Friends of the Dover Greenway is the solution to the danger of letting this opportunity pass and having outsiders do as they please with the property.  In Weston the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation has very recently secured funding and intends to pave the Eversource gravel access road in order to create a 10-foot wide multi-use greenway as the MassCentral Rail Trail (the Wayside Trail). Once Eversource installed their gravel road, the only option was to pave it — and make it accessible to motorized vehicles, including the Eversource trucks.

Sudbury has already spent more than $100,000 on Eversource-related legal services since last spring, and will seek an additional $200,000 from their Town Meeting next month.

In Dover, leasing this property with the options to lease on both of the ends, should appease those who fear a trail that connects to other towns. This is not a biking path, it is a stone dust trail — one which cannot be used by speed bikers. And once the town has the options to lease either end of the rail bed we can keep those areas from unwanted further development of walking trails.

Every town which has a rail trail has experienced increased values of their homes. In Wellesley there is a 10 percent or more premium for houses which sit on their Brook Path — in full visibility to all who use it.

Potential rail trail contamination is NOT a reason to vote against the rail trail. In fact, this project as proposed would only serve to REDUCE RISK from potential oil and/or hazardous material. The proposed conversion will provide a net environmental benefit through mitigation efforts such as the removal of the treated railroad ties and by capping the rail bed.

Finally, we hear that we walkers will disturb hounds and horses. I cannot believe that in this town people are making residents feel unwelcome for wanting to share this property which is and will continue to be owned by the MBTA. I have heard the selectmen and the FDG repeatedly tell all constituencies that they will work with them to accommodate all users.

Opponents continue to relay misstatements and incorrect information. We have done our own research on this subject and are in total agreement with the FDG. The important thing to remember when working on a rail-trail is that the law is on your side. State and federal laws have been passed to help rail-trail organizations preserve railroad rights-of-way and convert them into trails. So please join us in voting YES to the Dover Rail Trail.

Janit Greenwood & Barry Goldman

Dave & Peggy Fleming

David Zurakowski

Howard & Joanne Fisher

Suzanne Cohen & Brian Albert

Beth & Philip Sagan