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Trail work expected to start next month

METRO WEST DAILY NEWS – Conservation officials expect work to create two long-distance trails, including one that will weave through the “Boroughs” communities, will begin next month.

The City Council this spring gave the green light to the proposed Boroughs Community Loop, a more than 30-mile trail linking Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough and Westborough, and the Panther Trail, a 26.2-mile loop around the city connecting existing trails and parks.

In the coming weeks, Conservation Officer Priscilla Ryder and her two summer interns will walk sections of the trails to confirm the routes and create a plan to mark the trails. Ryder is hopeful the work will begin in August.

“We aren’t quite ready to hit the ground yet, but it’s coming,” said Ryder. “We are just finalizing a few sections before we start getting signage up and start the process.”

The Boroughs Community Loop will connect the four Boroughs towns through existing routes, such as the Sudbury Reservoir Trail in Southborough, and new paths to finish the loop.

A few years ago, the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation received a grant to study the feasibility of creating the loop. A committee determined the creation of a regional trail would encourage the exploration and enjoyment of natural resources across the communities.

Recommended as part of the city’s Open Space and Recreation Plan, the Panther Trail will connect several existing trail systems in the city, including paths at Ghiloni Park, Lake Williams, the Mount Ward and Felton conservation areas and Callahan State Park to create a more than 26-mile trail around the city.

The plan is to connect the trails at recreation and conservation areas through existing infrastructure, such as sidewalks. Other sections are part of development plans to be constructed in the near future, such as the Forest Street trail connection through the mixed-use overlay district, and sidewalks on Hayes Memorial Drive.

Several community groups, including the Boy Scouts, have shown an interest is assisting with the two projects, said Ryder.

When completed, the trails will offer residents another outlet for exercise and help create a healthier community.

“Our hope when the trail is complete is that people will explore the trail and get outdoors,” said Ryder.

This article by Jeff Malachowski originally appeared here.