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Boroughs Trail plan calls for 30-mile loop through 4 communities

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – People in the four “‘Boroughs” hope to connect existing trails to create a 30-plus-mile biking, hiking and walking loop that officials say will improve quality of life and boost the local economy.

Assabet River Rail Trail - Marlborough, MA

The proposed “Boroughs Community Trail Loop” would link Marlborough, Westborough, Northborough and Southborough through existing routes, such as the Sudbury Reservoir Trail in Southborough and Marlborough’s Panther Trail, and new paths to make the loop, which would be an outlet for exercise and increase connections among the four communities.

“We’re really just trying to connect what we already had,” said Priscilla Ryder, Marlborough’s conservation officer. “It’s great everybody wanted to do it. It will get people to explore each other’s neighborhoods.”

In 2012, the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation received a grant to study the feasibility of creating the loop. A committee determined early last year the creation of a regional trail would encourage the exploration and enjoyment of natural resources across the four communities.

“It would be a great feature for people living and working here,” said Arthur Bergeron, former executive director of the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation. “I think the loop would provide a unique opportunity for us. You can literally connect everybody through all these interconnected trails.”

The committee recently submitted a plan to officials in each community and is working with state agencies to secure funding and get permission to connect trails across roadways, railroads and parkland. During Monday night’s Marlborough City Council meeting, councilors referred the project to the Open Space Committee.

“We’d like to have it done in a couple of years,” said Ryder, who anticipates the trail will be very popular.

Bergeron, who suggested the concept a few years ago, said there are several areas where trails could link. He cited trails in the northeast corner of Northborough that run close to office buildings on Cedar Hill Street in Marlborough.

“People never think they can be linked,” he said. “There are obvious places where they can connect.”

Ryder and Bergeron said the proposed trail could attract competitive marathoners looking to test their abilities along the trail, as well as walkers, bikers and hikers.

“The worst thing for walkers and runners is to come to a dead end and have to turn around,” said Bergeron. “I love this project.”

With the proposed trail passing by several commercial properties, Jim Robbins, Westborough’s town planner, said the project could boost the local economy and make the region more attractive to prospective companies.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.