Orange, Buckland to benefit from latest Shared Streets and Spaces grants

  • Outlined in red is the “wedge” of land donated by local cyclist Mike McCusker for the cycle-themed pocket park on Conway Street that Buckland plans to create with the funding it received from the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program. Contributed Image

  • The $100,871 grant that Orange has received through the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program will finance, among other things, the installation of a bus stop enclosure at the Orange Armory, pictured. Staff File Photo

Published: 8/6/2021 2:44:58 PM

Buckland and Orange are two of 77 cities and towns recently allocated a total of $6.5 million by way of the Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program. The award aids towns in funding new projects such as traffic safety measures, trail connections, bike-share stations, bus facilities and outdoor community spaces.


With its $100,871, Orange will expand upon the work of a previous Shared Streets and Spaces grant by extending improvements on East Main Street to include new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant crosswalks, buffered bicycle lanes and a bus stop enclosure for Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) riders, complete with a bench and schedule holder. Alec Wade, the town’s community development director, said this is the third round of Shared Streets and Spaces money Orange has received.

“This is the largest award we’ve gotten,” he said.

Wade said the money will finance curb-cutting in crosswalks from the main-streets intersection to Whitney Street, as well as the installation of a bus stop enclosure at the Orange Armory.

“It will be as modern as you can get,” he said, adding that the changes will likely appeal to people who frequent the Orange Council on Aging and the Orange Farmers’ Market.

Wade said if there is enough money left over, it will be used to paint bicycle lanes. He said the money must be expended by Dec. 31, so the work is expected to go out to bid by mid-August.

Last summer, Orange was awarded $9,700 in a first round of funding from the state’s Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program to improve the main-streets intersection’s outdoor dining area with permanent tables, five planters and flowers, sets of umbrellas and stands, and garbage and recycling bins. Wade said a second round, in the form of $27,400, will be packaged with the third round to save some money on the project.


With its $50,000 grant, Buckland plans to create a cycle-themed pocket park in a vacant 3,400-square foot lot on Conway Street. It will include bicycle racks, a water bottle filling station, a bicycle tool and repair stand, and benches overlooking the Deerfield River.

“We know that the village of Shelburne Falls is a destination for cyclist groups, especially on the weekends,” Town Administrator Heather Butler explained. “The downtown area fills up from time to time with groups of cyclists who come into town and visit the local shops.

“So the idea to provide a space for them to safely have their bikes out of the road and off the sidewalk, and to provide them with their own gathering spot,” she continued, “seemed like an appropriate component to add to the village, especially on the Buckland side.”

This isn’t the first time Buckland has gotten a Shared Streets and Spaces grant. Last spring, Butler applied for and received $8,000 for round picnic tables that are now in the space between Town Hall and Buckland Pizza. This year, she upped the ante, seeking a greater level of funding.

“When I realized the potential of this funding opportunity, I wanted to raise the bar with this year’s application,” Butler said. With this money, the town will work with an engineering firm to provide basic plans for the park before investing in the materials to build.

Butler said Mike McCusker, an avid cyclist and owner of a small parcel of land on Conway Street, proposed the idea and is donating that land to provide a space for this park. McCusker has owned the “wedge” of land for years, and attributes his inspiration for the cycle pocket park to time spent biking in Canada, where he experienced tool and pump stations along bicycle routes in some places.

Like Butler, McCusker noted how many cyclists he sees pass through Buckland while visiting Shelburne Falls. He knew that his piece of land could play a part in letting cyclists know they’re welcome.

“Let’s demonstrate how friendly we are,” McCusker said. “We want to thank them and express our appreciation, and one way to do that is by giving them their own park.”


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