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NORTHAMPTON — The city of Northampton’s Office of Planning and Sustainability recently secured a grant of $22,000 to improve the accessibility of an existing accessible trail located at the Terrace Trails Conservation Area.

According to Planning and Sustainability Director Carolyn Misch, the trail that is in that area currently has some barriers to people who have mobility issues, so the grant will help the trail become more formally accessible.

To do that, Misch said the city is planning to create a firmer surface on the trail while also making sure the path is wide enough to accommodate wheeled devices.

According to Misch, creating a firm surface might mean using stone dust to mitigate the bark chips and mud that is often time present on the trail now.

“For the most part, the grade is pretty close to what it needs to be but there are just some other areas that if they’re addressed then it could be fully accessible for people with mobility devices,” Misch said, of the path.

According to Misch, the city has maintained a long-term relationship with the surrounding Pomeroy Terrace residents and the College Church, which sits adjacent to the Terrace Trails Conservation Area. Through these relationships, Misch said there have been conversations for awhile about maintaining and improving the trail at Terrace.

This project is part of a broader initiative by the city to make improvements to conservation areas and other recreational resources in Northampton.

“There are other conservation areas that we are looking at for opportunities to make those accessible as well,” Misch said.

Additionally, the Office of Planning and Sustainability will use the current design process to see if the trail they are improving can also be a connector in some capacity.

The $22,000 grant, which will cover the entire project implementation, is from the state’s Department of Public Health and funneled through the Hampshire Educational Collaborative. According to Misch, the grant has to be expended by June.

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