Bike Path Plans, Costs Detailed

For some time, Mattapoisett Capital Planning Committee Chairman Chuck McCullough has expressed the need for fiscal planning and oversight by the town for the bike path, which has been rolling through the community for more than 20 years primarily being managed by the town’s Bike Path Committee and Select Board via the town administrator. Now its financial planning and debt tracking would be aided by the Capital Planning Committee.

            On February 14, members of the Mattapoisett Bike Path Study Committee and Friends of the Mattapoisett Bike Path met with Capital Planning. On hand to navigate through the trail of grants, donations, matching funds and easements were Bike Path Committee Chairman Steve Kelleher and FMBP Chairman Rene Pothier. Also adding to the conversation was longtime advocate and FMBP member Bonne DeSousa.

            In a previous meeting held with the Community Preservation Committee (also chaired by McCullough) on February 11, the bike path consortium applied for a $120,000 recreational grant, money planned for necessary predesign must-haves such as easements and appraisals. That sum would become critical to the entire remaining bike path development, the CPC would hear, and would appear on financial spreadsheets provided to Capital Planning.

            The bike path team discussed in brief terms the challenges ahead such as securing the CPA grant, securing other grants for construction of Phases 2a and 2b, and a myriad of “soft cost” non-construction related matters such has wetland studies.

            After reading a letter from Representative Bill Straus in support of the CPA grant request, the conversation turned to the numbers.

            Pothier and Kelleher offered the following for FY23: $489,000, the town’s match previously approved through Town Meeting for work associated with the Industrial Drive improvements; $500,000 for a portion of the Phase 2b Industrial Drive pathway; and $150,000 of which $120,000 is proposed from the CPA grant and matched by $30,000 in FMBP donations.

            In FY24, $285,000 will be needed and proposed to be secured from grants and town match for Phase 2a design, project management and soft costs not associated with construction, and $1,000,000 proposed to be secured by town match and grants.

             FY25 is forecasted to need $30,000 from grants and town match for additional Phase 2a design, project management and soft costs not associated with construction, and $1,000,000 from grants and town match for Phase 2a construction.

            It is currently planned that in FY26 the project will be rolling towards completion while needing $30,000 from grants and town match for remaining project management and soft costs not associated with construction, $1,000,000 for Phase 2a construction, $752,000 for Phase 2b design and construction, and $500,000 for final segments of Phase 2a.

            All totaled over the next four fiscal cycles, the financial documents provided by the bike path consortium estimate that Phases 2a and 2b, also known as the “last mile,” will cost $5,796,000 anticipated to be funded by a variety of grants and town matches.

            During their meeting with the Community Preservation Committee, the bike path advocates explained that before any other monies can be sought through grant applications, much needed predesign work is required that will include conceptual designs for crossing at North Street onto Industrial Drive and easements through the Park Street neighborhood (Phase 2a). Nothing more could be advanced until these stated tasks are completed.

            McCullough referred to the CPA grant as a “stone in the funnel;” no other funds could flow in until these monies are secured. DeSousa also mentioned the need for a consultant to be hired by the town to oversee the completion of the bike path, given the complexity and time investment that a project of this size would require.

            Also coming before the Capital Planning Committee was Harbormaster Jamie McIntosh. For FY23, McIntosh listed: $794,947 needed for design work for repairs to Long Wharf; $30,000 for a harbor management plan; $70,000 for new docks and floats; $18,457 for a patrol boat; and $12,000 for security camaras. For FY24, the list includes: $537,500 for Long Wharf construction costs (a sum repeated for fiscal cycles through FY28 expected to be paid via debt exclusion); $100,000 for repairs to Holmes Wharf; and another $18,457 earmarked for a patrol boat paid via the Enterprise Fund. FY23 requests total out to $941,382 and FY24 at $673,935.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Community Preservation Committee is planned for Friday, February 18, at 5:30 pm. The Mattapoisett Capital Planning Committee plans to meet again on Monday, February 28, at 6:00 pm.

Mattapoisett Capital Planning/Community Preservation Committees

By Marilou Newell

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