Mayor Fuller has announced the formation of a Webster Woods Advisory Panel to offer guidance on how best to preserve this important community resource. The Mayor has appointed Beth Wilkinson of the Newton Conservators to serve as Chair of the Advisory Panel. Ms. Wilkinson will Chair both the Panel’s Executive Committee and the larger Advisory Panel’s membership.
All Newton residents interested in serving on the Advisory Panel are invited to complete an online application (a Survey Monkey form) by clicking here. Applications must be completed on or before February 9, 2018 to be considered. Applicants should be willing to commit to monthly meetings throughout 2018.
The “Webster Woods” parcel, composed of the lands located behind the former Temple Mishkan Tefila at 300 Hammond Pond Parkway was identified in 2012–2017 Newton Open Space Plan as an important natural and recreational resource for the City of Newton. Under the leadership of the Mayor and the Ward 7 Councilors, the Conservation Division of the Planning Department has begun to review the options to permanently conserve this area for public use. An important first step in this process is a reliable appraisal of the value of the property at interest, the final copy of which is attached.
Large undeveloped parcels are exceedingly rare in Newton and represent a conservation and recreation opportunity consistent with the longstanding public use of the area and trails. The Webster Woods parcel is made even more valuable by the fact that it is surrounded by existing City- and DCR-owned conservation lands such that its conservation would contribute to the retention of a large tract of ecologically valuable forest as well as a rare opportunity for relative seclusion and quiet in a natural setting otherwise very close to Boston.
With this appraisal complete, there is time for interested parties to examine this document. With a change in administration approaching, it will be important for conversations with Boston College to occur after the election as the next Mayor as along with the Ward 7 Councilors will be pivotal.