The town of Stoneham anticipates signing a 99-year lease with the MBTA for a parcel of land that starts in Stoneham and runs through Woburn as part of the Tri-Community Bike Path, but not before some concerns Town Administrator David Ragucci has regarding the area in question are addressed.
"The town of Stoneham has a lease with the MBTA for the parcel of land that starts at Maple (Street) and goes through Woburn which is part of the bike path," Ragucci said following Tuesday night's Selectmen's session. "Over time there has been fill placed there by somebody. When the engineers went to look at that section, the grade now is not conducive for a bike path; it's just too steep.
"So, somebody is going to have to take some of that dirt out of there to make it acceptable as a bike path."
"What we're looking to do is to extend the lease agreement that says we're taking that land as-is," Ragucci continued. "My concern would be that if we take it as-is somebody might turn around and say 'Hey, the town of Stoneham knew the dirt was there, you knew it wasn't conducive for a bike path because of the slope and you're responsible for taking the dirt out.' That's unfair to the taxpayers of Stoneham.
"If we're going to do it as a Tri-Community, as I think we will and should, we all should commit to cleaning it up with the TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) (funds)."
Ragucci said soon he'll be contacting Woburn Mayor Scott Galvin and Winchester Mayor Richard Howard to discuss the cost to fix up the site "because it's not going to be borne by Stoneham."