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Fisher Hill Reservoir

In 1978, the state-owned 10 acre Fisher Hill Reservoir was taken out of service; in 2001 it was declared surplus land and available for purchase. It took another decade of planning before the site became Town-owned property, destined to become Brookline’s next premier park including a soccer field and Great Lawn, natural wooded areas, walking paths, and the renovation of the historic 1887 gatehouse designed by Arthur Vinal.

In order to assure an ongoing environmental benefit accrues from the land sale the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has required, as a condition of sale, an independent, third-party organization hold a conservation restriction on the land. This condition is a growing trend in such transactions, not specific to Brookline. The restriction, in this case, requires the holder to assure ongoing recreational use of the land. This means that Town government may not later decide, for example, to build a school on the site, or to allow parking on the open land of the park, as has been done in parks on occasion in the past. While parks are protected by the Constitution of the Commonwealth, the protections require a complicated process and are not absolute. According to the terms and conditions of sale, the land purchased on Fisher Hill must continue to be used for recreational open space in perpetuity.

While other groups were considered, Brookline GreenSpace Alliance was the only organization in Brookline willing and able to take on this important task for the benefit of the community. While holding a conservation restriction represented a new direction for BGSA, it is consistent with its mission “to preserve, protect and enhance the open spaces of Brookline.”

Construction of the Fisher Hill Reservoir Park is completed; the opening took place in July, 2016 (see photo at top of this page). Photographs of the park underconstruction are in the Fall 2015 issue of PLACE.