Hopkinton’s Center Trail taking shape

HOPKINTON — The first link of the Center Trail is complete.

Center TrailLocation

Center TrailLocation

The 0.6 mile multi-use trail now connects between Main Street and the Loop Road, behind the school complex on Hayden Rowe Street. Eventually, the trail will link up with the Upper Charles Rail Trail, a planned 20-mile loop through Ashland, Holliston, Hopkinton, Sherborn and Milford.

A ribbon cutting will take place at 9 this morning at the Main Street trailhead across from Hopkinton Lumber, 118 Main St.

Selectman John Coutinho, who is also a member of the Upper Charles Rail Trail Committee, said there is a desire to develop a trail network across town for people to walk, run and bike.

“We are developing an overall plan, but building it one section at a time,” he said. “Our goal is to link to the Milford and Ashland trails.”

Coutinho said the Central Trail will serve as Main Street with trails eventually branching off to Southborough, Hopkinton State Park and housing developments including Legacy Farms.

He said the town will have to either buy land or get an easement to connect all the trails.

Resident Peter LaGoy, who has worked on the project since 2011, said the section of trial has been upgraded from a wooded path with pour drainage to one compacted with stone dust, on which people can use wheelchairs and strollers. He called this a “significant milestone.”

“It is our first step in connecting to the Upper Charles Trail,” he said.

LaGoy said he was the chairman of the now-defunct Downtown Revitalization Committee when the project was brought to Town Meeting in 2011. The town allocated $120,000 of Community Preservation Funds for this latest section.

“The Milford trail was being constructed and there was a desire to have that type of trail near downtown,” he said.

He said part of the idea was to drive more foot traffic to downtown stores, coffee shops and restaurants.

The path was in pretty rough shape before the work.

“I would run down it regularly, but sections were often washed out, especially in the spring,” LaGoy said.

The stone dust has been down for about a year, but a few wooden bridges needed to be repaired this fall. He said the town saved about $20,000 by using fill stored at the Department of Public Works yard on Wood Street.

Phase two of the project, approved at Town Meeting in 2013, will link the trail from the Loop Road to Chamberlain Street. A new trail will also be created on a nearby 4-acre parcel owned by the town, LaGoy said.

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