July 21, 2016: MassDOT Highway Administrator Tom Tinlin joined area officials at the ground breaking event to recognize the commencement of the construction project for the Maynard-Action section of the Assabet River Rail Trail. This Rail Trail project links the Assabet River National Wildlife refuge with the downtown Maynard business district and the South Acton Commuter Rail Station, providing an alternative transportation option. The construction schedule is 24 months and will end in June 2018.
April 10, 2004: Voters at the annual town meeting passed two articles that will have a positive effect on trail development in Acton. Approved was Article 18, the appropriation of $944,456 in Community Preservation Act funds to 12 local projects. Included in the 12-part appropriation is $170,000 for ARRT. This represents the Town's share of the design and build costs of the Acton portion of the trail. Passing by voice vote was a zoning variance on the Anderson property. This clears the way for the Selectman to sign a Right Of Way easement with Anderson for the trail.
July 9, 2003: The state legislature passed and forwarded to the Governor, a bill commonly referred to as the Municipal Relief Package. It contains an amendment authored by Acton State Senator Pam Resor, that is intended to break the liability deadlock between the MBTA and the 30 Massachusetts communities attempting to lease abandoned RR right-of-ways. Acton's attempt to lease the MBTA ROW in South Acton is dependant on the bill being signed.
October 2001: The MBTA Executive Board voted in early October to transfer the 0.7 mile MBTA ROW to the town of Acton at no cost. (7/2004 update: this hasn't happened yet)
October 9, 2001: The Acton Board of Selectman voted to accept the Assabet River Rail Trail Implementation Plan that was produced by Earth Tech. The 76 page report was commissioned by the 5 ARRT communities in 2000 and delivered to the town this month. It is a guideline for the remainder of project.
At the same meeting, it was announced that the town intended to add a warrant on the Spring 2002 Town Meeting that would cover the town's local match grant to design and build the 1.1 miles of the trail in Acton. This comes as the town wraps up its acquisition of the trail right-of-way, using the money authorized by the 1998 Town Meeting.
May 2, 2001: Acton Conservation Commission, in a non-binding resolution, OK'd the idea of a proposed boardwalk connecting the trail from the rear parking lot of the Beacon/Wedgewood building back to the original right of way on the south side of the Wedgewood property. The consensus was this would not disturb the wetland. The Town of Acton is in the process of negotiating a trail easement across the Wedgewood property.
April 28, 2001: As part of the Acton Earth Day festivities, the ARRT sponsored and led a walk of the Acton trail route. 25 people of all ages, took advantage of the perfect weather and a freshly cleared trail. ARRT also sponsored a information table at the main Earth Day location.
October 26, 2000: At press conference held by Senator Pam Resor, Senator Cheryl Jacques, & Mass Highway Commissioner Matt Amorello announced the Mass Highway Board's vote-to make available $654,280.00 for the acquisition side of the 1998 ISTEA grant. Acton and the other 4 communities will finally have funds to work with to secure the ARRT right of way. Acton's share of this amount is about $150,000.
September, 2000: ARRT Project Planning Effort in High Gear, starting in Acton ... In Sept. & Oct., Acton ARRT volunteers Martin Graetz and Tom Kelleher, in concert with Town Planner Roland Bartl will be working with EarthTech to develop the strategic plan for implementation of the entire, 5-Town ARRT.
July 11, 2000: The ARRT was incorporated as "ARRT Inc.", a Massachusetts registered non-profit organization.
June 15, 2000: Acton and the other 4 commmunities issued a RFP to hire a consultant to prepare an up-to-date ARRT Master Plan. The plan would look at all the various ARRT segments, refine the proposed trail alignment, identify how all the pieces fit into the bigger picture, develop cost estimates, and detail a phasing plan from now until the completion of the entire ARRT.
Six seniors from Acton-Boxborough High School completed a walk of the Acton section to assist in the identification of significant natural resources. The walk, led by Markus Pinney, a land-use specialist from Lexington, was one of a series of walks to be held in each ARRT town.
April 6, 1998: Two articles authorizing the Town of Acton to appropriate funds for the first phase of the rail trail project were passed at Town Meeting.
Article 3, to raise the matching funds of up to $30,000, passed on a voice vote. Article 4, which requested the $150,000 of reimbursable spending, required a two-thirds majority. It passed 335 to 154.
Avery Associates has begun the Acton appraisals that were authorized by the 1997 grant ARRT received for land acquisition.
April 1998: The ARRT received a grant of $3,000 from the Department of Environmental Management's Greenways and Trails Demonstration Grant program. The grant was used to conduct a natural resource inventory and assessment of the proposed ARRT route.
February 1998: Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for appraising the entire ARRT route including Acton, were advertised in local newspapers on February 19. Bids were opened on March 6. Determining the fair market value of the parcels comprising the ARRT route is a key step in securing the federal funds earmarked for acquisition.
December 1997: The federal government approved $17 million in funding for transportation enhancements in Massachusetts, which included the grant proposal submitted by the five ARRT communities to aquire the legal rights to the ARRT route.
May 1997: The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) recommended that the Assabet River Rail Trail receive funding in fiscal year 1998 to begin acquiring portions of the right-of-way of the former Marlborough Rail Line.
In a grant proposal submitted by the five ARRT communities (Marlborough, Hudson, Stow, Maynard, and Acton), the towns would receive $668,000 to acquire the legal rights for the continuous 12.5 mile right-of-way.