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Earth Day events center on rail trail



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Volunteers break out the rakes and shovels to touch up a newly-built stretch of the Titanic Rail Trail running from Westville Park to the Ed Calcutt Bridge in Sturbridge Saturday. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
April 20, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Someone from the Middle Ages walking through Westville Park Saturday might have been surprised to find about 15 people laboring with shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows by choice, rather than because they had to.

But, for those 15, working on the latest section of the Titanic Rail Trail was more important than the chilly drizzle.

"Although it doesn't look like we got far, we really did more than I thought we'd get to today," said organizer Tom Chamberland, an Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger. "We got some really good projects done today, but always have more to do."

Regarding the rail trail, some of that other work will be tackled this coming Saturday, as Southbridge and Sturbridge both work on sections as part of Earth Day efforts. In Southbridge, the town is organizing two groups of volunteer clean-up crews — people willing to start the year's downtown pickup efforts, and a group to clear the railbed between Golden Greek Restaurant and Dudley's Papermill Road. Things kickoff with coffee and donuts at the Common at 9 a.m.,

The railbed work is specifically for the rail trail, which Town Manager Chris Clark has said he wants to start building this year. Grand Trunk Trailblazers Vice President Scott Benoit said Clark has been working with the Dudley town manager and trail group to organize it, hoping to fund actually building that stretch with around $200,000 that's already been earmarked for the project.

Chamberland noted last weekend's work was on a 1.5-mile section — from Westville to the Ed Calcutt Bridge over the Quinebaug River — that cost $100,000 to build.

See Tuesday's paper for complete coverage of community news.

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