On Track

The tracks behind the future home of Thrive Outdoors community center are overgrown and graffiti tagged. There is a homeless camp, or the remnants of one, blankets, bags, cans of tuna and bottles scattered along wooden tracks. Soft, dirty, piles of garbage, dispersed in heaps over rubber tires and under trees.

Train stations are places of community and connection. But, these tracks behind the old station on Elm, tracks that once brought people to work, to family, to good and meaningful parts of people's lives, have become a place where people sleep on mattresses under a rusty train car.


It's a space that has lost its purpose through years of neglect.

Yet, in walking the tracks, we found a wealth of goldenrod and wild flowers, young birch trees, saplings pushing up through the dirt, between the old wooden tracks.

Though this piece of Manchester history has been left almost unrecognizable, by life, by circumstances, by lack of attention, by carelessness...nature is patient, it perseveres. In the changing of seasons, in the spreading of seeds and the determination to grow toward the sun, it is hopeful, always.

And, likewise, we are starting to see this old train yard as it can be, as it should be. We want to bring it back to its roots, its intended purpose.

And, when we open, we want the same for those who walk through our doors.

Melanie Haney