We must cherish the lovely aspects of Chestnut Hill, which will disappear unless we are courageous.
In 1960, Ann and I moved to Chestnut Hill, a quiet, village-like community with many old trees, green spaces, and lovely buildings, near Fairmount Park and my family. In the following years, Chestnut Hill has become noisier, with more traffic, light pollution, bigger buildings, variances, and subdivisions. Conversely, there are fewer and fewer birds, fewer open spaces, less greenery and less of what we moved here to be a part of. It’s true that with such a bounty, some losses can be afforded. But the effects add up over time and are so hard to reverse that they are rarely undone.
This note is about cherishing some of the lovely aspects of Chestnut Hill, the quietness, openness, Fairmount Park, sense of community and beauty – both natural and man-made. But these aspects of life disappear unless we are courageous enough to work to protect them. Keeping these is challenging in a culture that prioritizes "busyness," growth, profit and "winning," often at great cost.
The Greylock property on Chestnut Hill Avenue is historically, architecturally and ecologically important. This was recognized at the time of its sale around 2000. Consequently, restrictions were put on what could legally be done with the property – both what needed to be done and what could not be done.
The purpose of those restrictive "easements" was the protect what deserved to be protected, but had no power to protect itself. That includes the quality of life of all Chestnut Hill residents and the beauty and richness of the natural, architectural and community environment. I believe those restrictions deserve to be honored. It appears, however, that current plans for the property may not do so. Furthermore, some of the institutions responsible for upholding those pledges may intend to turn a blind eye.
Elsewhere in this issue of the Local is information about Greylock, presented by Chestnut Hill Landmarks, a group committed to preserving a good quality of life for all in Chestnut Hill. We hope you will read it. If you wish to connect with Chestnut Hill Landmarks, the email address is CH.Landmarks@gmail.com.