City of Framingham Wants $5 Million To Purchase Land To Complete For Bruce Freeman Trail

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FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham is requesting $5 million for the acquisition of the land required to complete the final 3.4 miles of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (BFRT) from Congress.

The Spicer administration made a request for Community Project Funding from Congress to Framingham’s Congresswoman Katherine Clark.

Lawmakers recently re-instated the process of earmarking for local governments and nonprofits congressionally directed spending through a reformed process dubbed Community Project Funding (CPF). Congress decided a maximum of 10 community project requests from each Congressional member will be allowed.

The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail connect Lowell, Chelmsford, Westford, Carlisle, Acton, Concord, Sudbury, and Framingham along 25 miles of what used to be a railway.

Last year, the Town of Sudbury purchased 1.4 miles of CSX rail corridor up to their border and Framingham is the final community along the trail to make it complete.

“The rail corridor has been valued at approximately $5 million and the City of Framingham intends to begin negotiations with its current owner, but lacks the full funding to pay the acquisition cost,” wrote the Spicer administration.

When completed, the Trail will provide residents from inside and outside Framingham with a long-range regional trail that is a safe and environmentally friendly way to travel to and from businesses, schools, appointments, workplaces, and more—an investment in both
infrastructure as well as economic development, providing more equitable access to opportunities for residents across these communities, according to the administration.

In December of 2020, CSX announced plans to sell 3.5 miles of land from Sudbury to Route 9 to Georgetown and High Line Railway Company, LLC, a subsidiary of CSX Transportation.

The City of Framingham has been trying to negotiate a deal for more than a decade, with CSX for that land, to create the final leg of the Bruce Freeman Trail, which stretches all the way to the Chelmsford/Lowell area.

Mayor Yvonne Spicer sent a November 16, 2020 letter to the federal board requesting yet another extension through December 1, 2021.

“Because the City is now able to move forward with negotiations and pursuit of funding to acquire the final segment of the CSXT rail line to complete the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Framingham respectfully requests a one-year extension until December 1, 2021,” wrote the Mayor to the federal Board.

The federal government’s Surface Transportation Board extended the deadline with the City of Framingham multiple times, but denied the latest extension request on December 1, 2020.

The Board regulates freight railways.

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Photo courtesy of Bruce Freeman Rail Trail

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