The Friends of the Mattapoisett Bicycle and Recreational Path met at the library on Tuesday, February 28 to discuss their upcoming year of events and fundraisers.
President Bonne DeSousa, with about 12 in attendance, began the meeting by providing some exposition regarding bike path business that was discussed late last year. The group wants to build a new permanent bridge across the Eel Pond breach, spanning about 30 feet. The current pedestrian bridge in recent years has fallen in disrepair and the Friends of the Bike Path want to install a temporary structure.
According to Ms. DeSousa, the new aluminum bridge would be safer and more convenient. “It’s easily installed and can be easily removed in the case of bad weather,” she said.
But progress on getting approval for the permanent bridge has been slow. The group has been working with the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission to ensure they are in compliance with state laws and regulations set by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Funding, too, is tight and will need to be acquired over time. The entire project has a price tag of $2 million, which would be raised over the course of four successive fiscal years.
The Friends are also organizing, in conjunction with YMCA Camp Massasoit and South Coast Health Systems, a fitness and fundraising challenge on June 24 to benefit the Mattapoisett Rail Trail Design and Path Improvements Fund. Registered participants can walk, run, or bike the course anywhere from one to forty miles, followed by a family friendly picnic, with music, overlooking the Mattapoisett Harbor.
The group, which has been around since 1996, has been responsible for helping to oversee the maintenance and repair of the bike path. Three years ago, they began a project to pave the course.
Having a biking area away from the winding roads of Mattapoisett is important to many residents. Renee Pothier has been a member of the Friends for 12 years and her family, which includes four children ages 12 and under, all use the path.
“I think it’s fabulous for them to have a safe place to ride their bikes, somewhere off the roads,” she said.
In addition, they are planning two safety talks during the month of April. For one of these events, they will partner with the Mattapoisett Police Department to teach local students the importance of bicycle safety.
By Eric Tripoli