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Greenfield to apply for grant for bike path along river

GREENFIELD — The town will apply for a state grant in June that, if awarded, will allow it to build a pedestrian and bike path along Meade Street to connect Mill and Deerfield streets.

The town has been discussing the project, which is expected to cost $217,000, for more than a year. It will apply for a $167,000 grant and the town, according to the terms of the grant, will have to spend $50,000 to reach $217,000.

Town officials have said the Meade Street Pedestrian and Bike Path will be a significant step to implementing the larger vision of extending the Riverside Greenway Bike Path to Green River Park.

Eric Twarog, the town’s director of planning and development, said the town is committed to developing a network of on-road bike lanes, but bike paths are also an important element to a safe biking network, allowing particularly the young and less experienced bicyclers to become more comfortable riding before moving to on-road riding.

The Meade Street path will include a 10-foot-wide asphalt path for bicyclists and pedestrians, along with benches to rest, landscaping improvements, trail lighting and interpretive signs highlighting the town’s industrial heritage.

Twarog said if the town receives the Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program grant, it will use between $10,000 and $15,000 of it to design the path in 2015 and the rest to construct it in 2016. He said the town should know by November whether it has received the grant.

“The Meade Street Pedestrian and Bike Path is an important, transformational project that will help us spur community revitalization in the heart of Greenfield,” said Mayor William Martin. “This project will convert a partially discontinued section of Meade Street into a recreational corridor that will promote healthy lifestyles and serve as an asset for the entire town.”

Maureen Pollock, the town’s assistant planner and conservation agent, said the proposed path offers an incredible opportunity to connect people and neighborhoods to the Green River.

“It will be here for families and children to enjoy for years to come,” she said.

Twarog said the Meade Street path will be one more piece of the Montague-Greenfield loop of the Franklin County Bikeway.

“There doesn’t seem to be anyone opposed to this project,” said Twarog.

He said the town will submit a notice of intent to its Conservation Commission later in June because the path will run along the riverfront.

Twarog said the commission will review the project and most likely issue an order of conditions before construction can begin.

The PARC Grant application is due June 18.

For more information about the project, contact Pollock at 413-772-1551 or email her at: maureenp@greenfield-ma.gov.

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