Easthampton receives $374K PARC grant for Mt. Tom trail, gathering area

Hampshire County

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The city of Easthampton has received a $374,000 Parkland, Acquisition, and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant that will go towards creating a gathering area and trail on Mount Tom, along with a parking lot off of East Street.

Easthampton will create a formal trailhead with a 2,200 foot long accessible trail that goes right to a gathering area overlooking the Oxbow. The city says the hike will be an easy loop and have an enhanced connection to the New England National Scenic Trail.

“The CPA committee has supported this project by providing a match to the City’s 2018 PARC grant for acquisition and the community based design process undertaken by Dodson and Flinker earlier this year. This project represents and ideal use of CPA funds to leverage state funding resources to provide a new outdoor experience for a wide range of user groups,” said Dan Rist, CPA Committee Chairperson.

A dedicated fund for maintenance of the trail and gathering area will be created by the Kestrel Land Trust along with the city and Pascommuck Conservation Trust. Kestrel Land Trust has had previous success implementing funds for maintenance in other areas, such as Puffer’s Pond in Amherst.

Final designs and construction drawings will be created over the winter, then the city will bid out the construction in the spring. The city is looking to begin construction in July.

“We know this is a tough time for many residents and business owners and we continue to pursue funding for a wide range of projects. This program is specific to the acquisition of open space and the creation of new trails and access; something that is more important than ever as we have seen a tremendous increase in people accessing trails and recreation areas since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Jeff Bagg, Easthampton City Planner.

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