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City gives go-ahead for nature trail grant
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Springfield City Council members have given the go-ahead for a contract, as part of a state Department of Natural Resources grant for a multi-use trail.

The $70,000 grant was awarded in March and it will help the city acquire 28.15 acres of land and build more than a half-mile of unpaved multi-use trail and trailhead. The trail will include interpretative and educational signs.

“It gets us started,” City Manager Brett Bennett said of the grant. “There’s a two-year time frame on this, but it doesn’t have to take that long.”

The total project is estimated to cost $92,000, with the city coming up with $22,000 of that total. Bennett said that could be in the form of in-kind contributions.

“It might be half-cash, half-in-kind,” he said.

Originally, the grant was for four acres, and Bennett said the trail itself will be minor construction.

“We may need crossings,” he said. “That’s the most extensive thing.”

The grant money could be used to acquire parcels or easements to bring the trail from the Living History Site to Early Street. One area, Bennett said, is mostly swamp.

“There are all kinds of ways this thing can go,” he said.

Bennett said the city has identified a minimum of four parcels for either purchase or easement and up to six to eight. He also said condemnation is not an option for the city to use the grant.