Eminent Domain Claim Impending For Rail Trail
Rail Trail group member Roger Talkov will meet Thursday with a town lawyer to draft an eminent domain claim for a recreation easement on a section of the proposed trail.
Rail Trail Implementation Committee members are taking a major step in their decade-old effort to establish a public recreation trail along the former rail corridor.
On Thursday, Rail Committee member Roger Talkov will meet with Katharine Klein of the town's law firm Kopelman and Paige to draft a letter to utility company National Grid, Talkov said at the committee's meeting on Wednesday.
The letter will be an eminent domain claim for a 10-foot-wide recreation easement on land extending from Humphrey Street to the Swampscott Middle School, he said.
"Now it is go time," he said.
Talkov and fellow rail committee member Marc Barden have been trying to establish the trail for more than 10 years.
The Humphrey/Middle School section is just a portion of the corridor. The ultimate goal is to link with the established Marblehead trail section.
The town has standing approval from a town meeting vote for eminent domain action, the committee said.
The committee will use money it has accumulated through fundraising for taking the Humphrey Street-to-middle school section.
National Grid owns the entire section, Talkov said.
Talkov said the utility has said it will not voluntarily convey easement rights to their property so long as individuals oppose the trail.
Abutters to other sections of the corridor have sent letters to the utility stating their opposition to the trail, Rail Committee members said.
Opponents say the trail would attract crime and take away from their privacy, according to Rail Trail members.
Talkov said National Grid has not been very cooperative as far as extending easement rights to the town for the trail.
He said this stance runs counter to the company's claim to be a pro-green operation.
The retired rail beds offer recreational uses including walking, bike riding and cross-country skiing.