The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the Town of Weston Board of Selectmen are delighted to announce that an agreement has been reached that allows for the sale of the Case Estates to the Town of Weston. This transaction aligns the long-term goals and objectives of Weston and the Arnold Arboretum, enabling the Town and its citizens to preserve the property’s considerable scenic open space for recreation and other municipal purposes while allowing the Arboretum to focus its resources on its spectacular living collections, research facilities, and educational activities in the Jamaica Plain and Roslindale neighborhoods of Boston.
Selectman Michael Harrity noted, “Acquisition of the Case Estates has been a top priority for the Town of Weston for many years but the purchase from Harvard has been complicated by the unexpected discovery of residuals of pesticides that were used many decades ago, long before the land was donated to the Arboretum. It was not easy to fashion an agreement that recognized the conditions of the property, appropriate cleanup protocols, and the land’s underlying value, but the Board of Selectmen is very pleased that Weston and Harvard have now found that common ground.”
Based on the “Hybrid Plan” approved by Town Meeting in 2010, the agreement was approved unanimously by the Weston Board of Selectmen on May 4, 2015. Under the agreement, Weston will acquire from Harvard the 62.5 acres commonly known as the Case Estates for $13,740,000, a purchase price which includes the amount previously paid by the town for a portion of the land acquired in a municipal taking. Harvard will implement and pay for environmental remediation measures as mutually agreed between the parties.
With the exception of three designated areas where the existing vegetation will be preserved, the “Hillcrest Corridor” portion of the land to be acquired by the Town will be classed as unrestricted open space, meaning it can be used for all agricultural and recreational purposes consistent with the Community Preservation Act. On the 14-acre wooded portion to the north of the property acquired for municipal use, passive recreational uses will be allowed. The remaining parcels on the Case Estates property will be suitable for residential uses.
Arnold Arboretum Director William (Ned) Friedman lauded the agreement, stating, “I am pleased that Harvard and Weston are moving forward together in a collaborative spirit that underscores a collective commitment to land preservation, community uses, and education.”
Town of Weston: Donna VanderClock, Town Manager; 781.786.5020
Harvard University: Tania deLuzuriaga, Sr. Communications Officer