Town of Swampscott
Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,
On behalf of the Swampscott Open Space & Recreation Plan Committee, I am writing to express our strong support for the Swampscott Rail Trail and the warrant articles to fund (either through bonding or by using Town’s free cash reserves) the design and engineering of the trail as well as the legal fees and costs for the acquisition of easement rights.
In addition to being one of the specific objectives of Swampscott’s 2013 Open Space & Recreation Plan, the creation of the Rail Trail was identified as a top priority by residents in the Town’s recent master planning process. “The rail trail has been one of the most supported open space and transportation initiatives during this planning process,” the final Swampscott 2025 Master Plan notes, “[it] could serve as the spine of a town‐wide green corridor network and offer an additional transportation option for bicycle commuters.” Providing an alternative walking and biking route away from traffic, especially for our children, we believe provides a very strong incentive for the creation of the Rail Trail.
In addition to promoting healthy recreation and transportation by providing a place for adults and children to walk and safely ride their bikes, the Swampscott Rail Trail will add accessible green space to a Town woefully short on open space. Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of New York City’s Central Park and Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” of parks ‐‐ as well as our own Olmsted District here in Swampscott ‐‐ would have wholeheartedly approved of the proposed Rail Trail. He was a believer in the benefits of green space. Parks are the “lungs of the city,” he said, and “the heart of the community.” The Rail Trail’s 90,000 square foot linear park running the length of Swampscott will provide access for all the Town’s residents to newly developed open space for enjoying recreation, the outdoors, and our community. It will give Swampscott’s residents needed space to breathe and a better connection to our community.
The time for the creation of this green space is long overdue.
The Open Space & Recreation Plan Committee is committed to helping ensure the creation of a Rail Trail in Swampscott and providing whatever assistance it can to the Town toward this goal.
Mary Webster, Chair
Original Letter, April 18, 2017