Group hopes to fix arboretum walls

November 17, 2006
By

JOHN RUCH

ARBORETUM—Historic puddingstone walls around two entrances to Arnold Arboretum would be repaired or recreated if the Arboretum Park Conservancy (APC) gets its way.

The work would require “a considerable amount of money,” said APC clerk and JP resident Virginia Marcotte in a Gazette interview. The group will seek a matching grant from the city’s Small Changes program.

The work would focus on the Washington and South streets entrances to the Bussey Brook Meadow area, which was added to the arboretum about 10 years ago as a result of APC advocacy.

The arboretum is enclosed in historic walls that are supposed to be maintained by the City of Boston. They are crumbling in many places.

“We understand and sympathize that they would be the eight-hundredth thing on the list of priorities,” Marcotte said.

The arboretum has repaired other entrances in recent years. Kevin McCluskey, a spokesperson for Harvard University, which runs the arboretum, said no one there was aware of the APC plans.

Marcotte said the APC previously applied for a Small Changes grant but didn’t win one. She could not specify how much the work might cost.

“What we plan to do is get an estimate from a mason on how much each linear foot would cost to repair,” Marcotte said. “We’ll gradually, foot by foot, repair it.”

Founded about 15 years ago, the APC is a private group that advocates for the public park uses of the arboretum, which is also an academic institution. The APC conducts tours, cleanups and similar events, and recently completed a botanical inventory of the arboretum.

For more information, call 556-4110.