In 2011 the Waterford Rail Lands Redevelopment committee, now known as the Shadow Lake Committee, launched an initiative to transform the abandoned railway lands surrounding the ponds into an attractive functional recreational area. The goal was to enhance the outdoor experience for the residents of Waterford and beyond.
Prior to the launch of the project, Waterford’s waterfront was barely visible, let alone appreciated or enjoyed. The railway corridor had been unused and untended for several decades. It was easy to imagine the area could be a better place that would retain its rustic look, but where hikers and cyclists could access the Waterford Heritage Trail, anglers could access water for fishing, with multiple spots to stop and appreciate the tranquil scenes.
The Waterford RLRC was inaugurated on May 26, 2011. Present, were Mark Boerkamp (representing Norfolk County), Terry Bonnet (Waterford Heritage Trail-President), Frank Woodcock (Waterford Heritage Trail- Treasurer), David Douglas (Citizen), Karen Lindsay (Waterford and Townsend Historical Society), Cheryl Murphy-Simon (Waterford and District Horticultural Society), Melissa Collver (Waterford Heritage and Agricultural Museum- Curator), Paul Hrvoyevich (Waterford Lions), Andy Kooistra (Citizen and Convener), all of whom had expressed an interest in seeing the abandoned railway property, recently acquired by Norfolk County, developed into a usable recreational area.
The initiative has the enthusiastic backing of the county and at the suggestion of Mark Boerkamp, it was decided that organizationally, a simple way forward was to have our group become a committee of the already established Waterford Heritage Trail. Subsequently, Mr. Frank Woodcock and Mr.Terry Bonnett, executives of the WHT placed the proposal before their board and the arrangement was agreed to.
The purpose of our group is to pursue the development of the area defined loosely as that portion of land from Main St to the “Black” Bridge to Mechanic Street. We foresee a green space that includes the Waterford Trail, incorporates the Old Train Station and the Museum, enhances the existing fishing and boating activities and generally promotes the use of the site by all residents of our town.
The committee has been actively perusing avenues of funding. We have retained Robert Judd to develop an initial concept drawing of the entire area. We have initiated contact with all authorities that have jurisdiction.
We presented the concept to the public in 2012 and it was our intention that the development process continued to be as open as possible and we encouraged ideas from all interested parties. Minutes of our meetings are to be available upon request.
The committee launched a plan to develop the area defined loosely as that portion of rail lands from Main St to the “High Level” Bridge that included:
The vision was to build a place that enhanced current activities and promoted use by residents and visitors alike.