Wall Restoration to start soon

May 25, 2007
By

David Taber


file photo by Lou Mancinelli
Plans to restore this wall will be the subject of a community meeting May 31.

PONDSIDE—A few trees will likely be lost next month when the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) moves to restore a nineteenth century stone wall near Jamaica Pond.

But they will be replaced “tree for tree” said DCR spokeswoman Wendy Fox.

The trees in question are a threat to the structural integrity of the historic farm wall, Fox said. “We may have to replace trees that have dead wood
and dead limbs and root systems running up against the wall,” she said.

Sarah Freedman of the Arborway Coalition, which has raised money toward a matching grant to fund DCR’s proposal, said the trees are not among those installed by Fredrick Law Olmsted when he designed the Emerald Necklace.

Olmsted designed the necklace, a continuous green space running from downtown Boston to Franklin Park, in the 1880’s. His original design included a carriage path, a bridal path and a pedestrian path running the length of the park. And these elements still exist today for long stretches of the necklace as roadways, bike paths and sidewalks, Freeman said.

But they end at the pond. And the wall, which stands at the intersection of Orchard Street and Dunster Road, is one of the only sites marking the history of the stretch of the necklace between the Jamaica Pond and the Arboretum, Freeman said.

The origins of the wall are murky. “It was definitely incorporated into the park, it is unclear if it was created as part of it or if it preexisted,” Freedman said.

But for neighborhood activists, the wall has become an important part of the necklace.

Half of the funds for the $30,000 restoration project are being provided in the form of a matching grant by the state Office of Public Private Partnerships, and the other half have been raised by a coalition of neighborhood groups, Freedman said.

In addition to the Arborway Coalition, private supporters of the restoration project include the Jamaica Pond Association, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the New Boston Fund, and over 70 private donors.

The DCR will host an informational community meeting on May 31 to present its design for the restoration of the wall and landscaping of the surrounding park area. [See JP Agenda, page 19.]

The restoration will be complete by June 30, Fox said.