CPA Proposals & Projects

Waban Hill Reservoir

(also known as Manet Road Reservoir)

Ward Street & Manet Road, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467


Acquire this site from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority for ownership by the City of Newton, to preserve the man-made pond and scenic vistas, and add site improvements to support primarily passive recreation.



CPA funds requested (recreation)

(no funding requested from other sources)

$980,000 CPA funds recommended & appropriated


Proposal Review & Appropriations


31 May 2013 - pre-proposal, including basic map & aerial photos

19 June 2013 - minutes of CPC's pre-proposal discussion with the proposal sponsor


3 November 2014 - full proposal (33 pp.), including maps & photos, project budgets

August 2014 - state-commissioned appraisal (51 pp.), required by state legislation to determine the City of Newton's acquisition cost for the property

11 December 2014 - presentation at CPC public hearing

22 December 2014 - CPC funding recommendation

  • community feedback: CPC staff summary & all emails/letters, including those submitted with the proposal in November 2014 (this long file may load slowly)

16 March 2015 - Board order (appropriation of funds)

Project Background & News


2012-13 - Waban Hill Reservoir Advisory Group webpage, documenting the process of producing the Waban Hill Reservoir Advisory Group report (6 June 2013): executive summary, main text & references (34 pp.) - recommendations for site use & design;  appendixes 1-2 (33 pp.) - comparisons to other Newton open spaces;  appendixes 3, 4 & 6 (22 pp.) - examples of outdoor public art, parking analysis, supporting emails from neighborhood residents;  appendix 5 (49 pp.) - preliminary engineering evaluation

10 June 2013 - Planning Dept. report (9 pp.)

19 June 2013 - Planning Dept. staff slide presentation to the Programs & Services Committee of the Board of Aldermen (multiple color photos) This long file may load slowly.

January-November 2013 - state actions authorizing purchase by the City of Newton 

15 November 2015 - grand opening/ribbon cutting (celebration of City acquisition)


March-June 2014 - engineering evaluation of reservoir & dam: main text (20 pp.) - site description and analyses of subsurface conditions, slope stability and hazard re-classification; appendixes (50 pp.) - borings from 1983 and 2014, laboratory test results, slope stability results, 1944 design drawing; executive summary (6 pp.) - including 2006 design drawing

22 April 2014 - Board order appropriating funds for appraisal (non-CPA funds)


2 July 2015 - land acquisition documents recorded at the Registry of Deeds:

January 2016 - Waban Hill Reservoir dam hazard reclassified (from "high hazard" to "low hazard")

January 2016 - Request for Proposals for Site Master Plan

Project Olds

(Historical Background)

Newton undertook the creation of a municipal water system almost immediately after converting from town to city government in 1873. The Waban Hill Reservoir was the first major project for the new system. Newton joined the metropolitan Boston sewer system in the late 19th century but relied largely on its own municipal system for a supply of clean water until it joined the water supply part of the metropolitan system in the 1950s. The sources below summarize this history.

1880 - from S. F. Smith's History of Newton (excerpt on Newton's first few years as a city, including creation of the water system)

1900 - deed transferring the Manet Road/Waban Hill Reservoir from City of Newton to Boston Metropolitan Water Board (for $60,000)

1990s - history of Newton's water & sewer systems, from website of the Jackson Homestead/Historic Newton

2011 - section on Newton's water and sewer systems highlighted from "Landscaping the Garden City: Transportation, Utilities, and Parks in Newton, Massachusetts, 1874-1915," by John H. Spiers (Boston College), Historical Geography vol. 39

November 2015 - Waban Hill Reservoir History, handout prepared by Historic Newton for site ribbon cutting, with assistance from the Waterworks Museum at the nearby Chestnut Hill Reservoir (Brighton, MA)


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