Open for excursions.
Canal Crossways, the nature trail located just off Main Street, and adjacent to the Buzzards Bay Post Office and the building site for Keystone Place senior housing project, has been completed.
Monday evening, July 21, members of the Bourne Open Space Committee took a ceremonial first walk along the path that leads from the trail’s parking lot to the Cape Cod Canal. Everyone was more than satisfied with how the finished product, which took more than a decade to bring to completion, turned out.
The Canal Crossways property comprises a little more than five acres off Main Street in Buzzards Bay. The town purchased the land it was built on in 2002 for $400,000 in Community Preservation Act funds from the Hia-Pearl Corporation, the owners of the former Grossman’s Lumber Company.
Committee vice chairman Andrew A. Cooney explained that shortly after the town bought the land, a path was cut by Open Space Committee volunteers, members of the Bourne Conservation Trust, and people with AmeriCorps. That original path only lasted about six months before it was all grown over again with native vegetation.
“It didn’t have stone dust down, it was a cut trail with a mower and that was it,” he said.
Mr. Cooney said the committee finally decided to hire the engineering firm of Weston & Sampson to draft plans, along with the contractor Rochester Ventures Incorporated, out of Rochester, to do the work. Money for the project was secured through Community Preservation Act funds approved by residents at Annual Town Meeting in 2012 and 2013.
The Canal Crossways project includes a finished parking lot with marked spaces. From the parking lot, a five-foot-wide trail, covered in double crushed stone dust, has been cut through woods and wetlands, and is now open to walkers and bikers. The path links Main Street to the Cape Cod Canal service road. Along the path are several benches at pull-off areas where people can stop and rest. The path leads to a gazebo, and a small bridge where people can cross onto the canal service road. Directional and informational signs have been placed at the start of trail.
Members expressed their hope that the path will help with the revitalization of Buzzards Bay by providing people walking along the canal access to Main Street and all its businesses. Mr. Cooney said that for a long time downtown Buzzards Bay has not been a place frequented by canalgoers. He said the committee’s hope is that Canal Crossways will change that.
“It’s kind of like, you know, Buzzards Bay is open for business,” he said.
Mr. Cooney pointed out that coincidentally Canal Crossways was completed at the same time that Keystone Place, the senior housing project behind the post office, is under construction. A sidewalk will lead from
Keystone Place to Canal Crossways, allowing residents easy access, he said.
“We hope they will become stewards of the property and keep an eye out for it,” he said.
Additional improvements that the committee is considering for the pathway include a picnic pavilion halfway from the parking lot to the service road bridge, more benches and streetlamps to light the path. Member Mardi J. Mauney said that the Open Space Committee has already been contacted by people and groups with their own ideas for what could be included along the path.
“It’s been nice to have people saying, ‘oh, man, wouldn’t it be cool if you added this,” so it’s really nice to see that support from the townspeople,” she said.
Committee chairman Barry H. Johnson said that visitors to Canal Crossways can walk to the canal service road, turn left, and access Three Mile Outlook, the path at the end of Perry Avenue, just past town hall. Three Mile
Outlook features a paved path lit by lampposts, and benches that lead to an observation deck and gazebo overlooking the canal. Mr. Johnson added that there has been a suggestion to cut a path that would connect Canal Crossways with Canal View Road behind the Cumberland Farms on Main Street.
Mr. Johnson credited the entire committee for its diligence in seeing the project through to completion.
“They gave up a lot of personal time to make this come to fruition, and volunteered many hours of cooperation,” he said.
He also thanked the town’s director of public works and facilities, Jonathan R. Nelson, and Department of Public Works superintendent George W. Sala for their assistance.
He noted that the committee wanted the project ready by this month and it is.
“Our goal was to get ready for the canal centennial, and we made it,” he said.