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Greenfield moves forward on Mead St. fixes

GREENFIELD — A quarter-mile stretch of Mead Street, long closed off to traffic with concrete barriers, could become a riverside bike path and walkway next year if a town grant proposal is approved.

The town has collaborated with Berkshire Gas Co., the Friends of Greenfield Recreation and the Franklin Regional Council of Governments to improve the discontinued street from its intersection with Mill Street to it’s connection to Deerfield Street, just beyond Ruggeri’s Package Store, according to Eric Twarog, director of planning and development.

Using plans prepared in 2005 by Berkshire Design Group with funding from the Community Development Block Grant program, the town is seeking a $10,000 grant from the Bikes Belong Coalition Community Partnership, a national nonprofit organization. They also plan to seek funding from the state’s Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program to complete the project, which is estimated at $203,280 in total.

“This has been an unfunded project for many years,” Twarog said. “Now’s the time to do it.”

Berkshire Gas Co., which has a building adjacent to Mead Street, plans to restore the road surface as part of its repairs along the Green River this fall, estimated at about $75,000 toward the cost. An additional $20,000 in in-kind contribution toward the project would come from the town Department of Public Works, said Twarog.

“There are Jersey barriers blocking it now, and the grass is all grown in there, but people use it as a walkway,” he said. “It’s in kind of rough shape right now, but it’s a perfect way to connect Deerfield Street to the downtown and the river.”

Once the project is completed, which Twarog said could come by the fall of 2014, the Friends of Greenfield Recreation plans to host a dedication ceremony, complete with a bicycle parade.

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