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BCRT Needham: November Meeting Notes

By Tad Staley - Posted on 29 November 2012

Last night, November 28, there was a meeting of the Needham volunteer group working on the Bay Colony Rail Trail. Approximately 30 people attended the meeting, which covered the following topics:

1. Background on the project for first time attendees.

2. Update on current status, with a discussion on Town Meeting approval of funding the Conceptual Planning and Design Study. More on this subject is available here: Needham Approves Funding for Rail Trail Study.

3. Overview of the current project timeline, with the pivotal focus on the May 2013 Town Meeting, when we expect to have two articles under consideration:

  • Approval to enter into a lease of the corridor with the MBTA.
  • Approval of recommendation on handling the indemnification required by the MBTA.

The assumption is that in order to win approval of the entering into the lease, Town Meeting will require clarity on the plans, timelines, issues and costs associated with the rail trail project. Assembling this information constitutes the principle work of the BCRT Needham volunteers over the next six months.

4. Discussion of the Working Groups that will be undertaking the work going forward, and the solicitation of volunteers to join those groups:

Project Management: The group that will provide oversight of the implementation of trail and related studies. Short term, this includes the recently funded study, as well as working with Iron Horse Preservation Society to put together a plan for engaging them to remove rails and ties.

Outreach: Kathleen Phelps and Dmitry Gorenburg coordinate this group, which plans, coordinates and executes the process by which various interested parties are informed about the trail and their concerns are heard. These include abutters, local schools and organizations.

Research & Documentation: This group will develop and maintain project briefing document, which includes relevant background information for all project stakeholders, especially town officials. This is the key deliverable prior to the May 2013 Town Meeting.

Marketing Communications: This group, coordinated by Peter Cohen, focuses on all forms of marketing and communications, including publicity, social media, newsletter, local newspapers, collateral, and events.

Fundraising: Coordinated by James Goldstein and Hans Klein, this group focuses on funding the project from: individual donors; fund-raising events; local merchants and larger institutions; grants from various sources.

North Segment Planning: This group will investigate approaches to creating a rail trail on the section of abandoned track between Needham Heights and Newton.

Finally, we reviewed the next steps and key upcoming dates for the project:


  • 12/10: Send RFP to Engineering firms


  • 1/1: Needham Bank promotion begins
  • 1/9: Select Engineering firm
  • 1/16: Next BCRT Needham Meeting (proposed)
  • Mid-late January: Feasibility Study Begins
  • All month: Neighborhood meetings with abutters


  • Early Feb: Public meeting


  • Mid-March: Public meeting


  • 4/19: Complete Briefing document for town officials


  • 2013 Town Meeting 

Next meeting is planned for the evening of January 16th.



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