The first completed section of the Shawsheen River Greenway that runs through two town-owned conservation parcels opened with plenty of foot traffic on Saturday, April 27, when about 175 people turned out for its dedication.
The new Vale Trail, located less than a mile from the town center, provides access to nearly 2 miles of uninterrupted open space and a gateway to numerous recreational opportunities along the Shawsheen River. It also offers another mode of access to the Ballardvale MBTA train stop.
Taking part in the dedication were state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover; state Reps. Jim Lyons, R-Andover. and Frank Moran, D-Lawrence; Chris Lange representing U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski and Selectman Alex Vispoli. Rep. Niki Tsongas sent a citation
Also speaking were Mike Timko, president of the Andover Village Improvement Society, which hosted the dedication, and Dave Doub, the group’s trustee and event coordinator. David Bunting, president of Andover Trails Committee, also highlighted the importance of the new trail.
Initiated in 2002, the project, which runs through the Shawsheen River and Vale reservations, saw more than 300 volunteers putting in 3,000 hours of labor to bring the trail to completion. Officials applauded the stretch of greenway for both its recreational value for multiple use activity and biological diversity.
As part of the dedication, Andover High School students, some of whom christened the trail with a trek to the ceremony, played music and read poems written for the occasion. Following the dedication, the Shawsheen River Watershed Association sponsored a canoe trip leaving from an access point along the trail.