The Southampton Greenway

The Southampton Greenway will be a 3.1-mile, paved trail extending from the intersection of College Highway (Route 10) and Brickyard Road (near Sheldon’s Ice Cream) north to Coleman Road. The trail will be open to pedestrians, runners, bicyclists and possibly other users. At its northern terminus it will meet Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail, enabling users to access a large and growing regional network of rail trails, currently extending as far as Belchertown and Williamsburg.

Friends of the Southampton Greenway
We are a not-for-profit (501c-3) group of resident volunteers committed to supporting the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the Southampton Greenway. Our mission is to support the work of the Southampton Greenway Committee, which has been appointed by the Select Board to oversee the design and construction of the trail. We do so by:

  • Empowering Southampton residents to shape the project to fit community needs
  • Coordinating public education and outreach efforts
  • Supporting the planning, design and construction phases of the Greenway
  • Sponsoring fundraising campaigns and grant applications
  • (Once the Greenway is constructed) establishing trail clearing and maintenance projects

Project Status (Winter 2024)
After many years of hard work, in December 2022 the Town of Southampton acquired the right of way for the Greenway from the Pioneer Valley Railroad. Early in 2023 the Town engaged the local civil engineering firm of Tighe & Bond to begin the multi-year process of designing the rail trail.  This work has been funded by a generous grant of $300,000 from the 2022 MassTrails Grant Program, with a match of $100,000 from the Town in the form of Community Preservation (CPA) funds, as well as a $320,000 2023 Mass Trails Grant with a CPA match of $65,000.

During 2023 the Tighe & Bond team completed surveying, base mapping, wetlands delineation and condition assessment of the bridges and culverts.  The Friends of the Greenway were glad to participate in a successful November 15th Greenway information session that was attended by about 130 people. During 2024 Tighe & Bond will complete a “25% Design” for submission to the Town of Southampton and MassDOT.  Completion of this 25% design in fact represents roughly 70% of the total design work for the Greenway.

A third grant application has been submitted to the 2024 MassTrails Grant Program to fund further design and engineering work. The design process is expected to take another 1.5 to 2.5 years to complete, after which the construction of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Path will be put out to bid.  It is expected that construction funding for the trail itself will be provided by the Federal government, though other funding sources may be need for parking, signage and other amenities.

Timeline

1828
Canal completed between New Haven and Northampton
1840
Canal converted to a rail bed, owned first by the New Haven Railroad, then by the PennCentral Railroad, and finally the Pioneer Valley Railroad
1970
Closure of Easthampton mills sharply reduces Pioneer Valley Railroad traffic through Southampton
1999
Easthampton acquires approximately five miles of track from the Pioneer Valley Railroad
2004
“Grand opening” of Easthampton’s Manhan Rail Trail
2005
Friends of Southampton Greenway formed
2011
Feasibility study for Southampton Greenway completed
2012
Southampton Select Board appoints first Greenway Committee
2022
Southampton wins a $300,000 MassTrails grant to fund the initial phase of Greenway design
Southampton acquires the right of way to Pioneer Valley Railroad corridor from the Westfield line to Coleman Road
2023
Southampton engages Tighe & Bond to conduct the multi-year process of designing the Southampton Greenway