The Stoneham Greenway Committee presented a layout of their plans for the future of a bike path in Stoneham, which would connect Winchester and Woburn. The 6.5-mile bike path would start in Recreation Park in Stoneham, to the T station in Winchester and out to the tunnel at 93 in Woburn.
At the Selectmen’s Meeting on September 10, Chair of the Town Bikeway/Greenway Committee Anthony Wilson said, “after many years of slow progress, we are finally on the fast track to have the Greenway built in FY2015. This includes over $5.5 M in state and federal funding. As with any large project, it also has its challenges. In our case, a few local business that have taken advantage of the old rail road right of way through Stoneham and do not want to give back the land.”
“Working with Winchester and Woburn. Once we have the bike path group built, The Friends group from each town will work on the Greenway,” President of the Tr-Community Greenway and Vice Chair of the Stoneham Greenway Committee Mark Warren said.
This issue of business using this land is a hot point of contention in town. Stoneham first decided to use the old Boston to Maine train line for green space in 1988. The MBTA has owned the right of way under the terms of an 85-year lease. The Greenway Committee has voiced their frustrations with abutters of this land who have used it for their own personal means. According to the Committee, an abutter has used this land to dump 4,000 cubic yards of fill on the old train line, and has even tried to sell the land.
“We feel that the residents who have been waiting for the Greenway since 1988, taxpayers who pay for public lands such as the right of way and any resident of Stoneham who plays by the rules of an ordered society will be livid when they learn of this outrageous and deceptive act by a very selfish individual,” Warren said.