Hammond Pond Project Begins

Martha Horn, the city’s Environmental Planner, reports that Newton has received approval from the state to proceed with design and construction of improvements to Hammond Pond. A request for bids will go out shortly to select an engineer to design the project and a survey will be completed by the city engineer to support this work. Over the winter and spring, the design process will go forward, with construction occurring from mid-summer into the fall.

While the engineering design is done, Stephanie Bacon, President of the Friends of Hammond Pond, will lead a group to develop a quality assurance plan. This will begin with baseline assessments of water quality that will enable measurements that document improvements resulting from the project.

A broad coalition of community groups have come together to partner with the city and other governmental agencies to make this project happen. The Friends of Hammond Pond raised $6500 and have played a catalytic role in raising awareness, convening interested parties, preparing funding applications and many other key steps in the process. The Chestnut Hill Village Alliance, Newton Conservators, Charles River Neighborhood Foundation contributed a total of $2500. The Charles River Watershed Association is providing in-kind donation of time and expertise.

In addition, individuals stepped in at key moments to move this project along. Rep. Ruth Balser presided over a series of meetings with the groups named above and various state agencies to identify funding opportunities, expertise and other resources. This process created momentum leading to development of a successful funding proposal to the state. Similarly, the owners and managers of the Mall, C&R Management and S.R. Weiner & Company, provided key support for the project and will allow areas of the parking lot to be used for staging during construction. They have also asked the city to permit permanent reduction of three spaces in their parking lot to enable placement of filtration devices. Other individuals have contributed political, engineering, grant writing support to the project.

Site preparation and other work will be done by the city’s Department of Public Works and the city will contribute $15,000 in cash to the project. In addition to this cash contribution, the in-kind services provided by the city will amount to about $80,000. The MDC has granted permission to cross and use their land adjacent to the Pond during construction.

The grant from the state’s lakes and ponds program is $149,000, making the total value of the project in excess of $250,000. Even with this amount, two key components of the system required to clean or prevent contaminants from entering the Pond are not funded in this first phase. An additional $175,000 is estimated as the cost of installing a Vortechnics filtering system and a sedimentation forebay. Discussions are continuing to identify donors who might underwrite the cost of these phase two improvements.

Ruth Balser, Lisle Baker and Martha Horn have been recognized by the Conservators for their work on this important project.

Doug Dickson, with input from Martha Aherin Horn

Editor’s note:

The above report neglected to mention the important contributions made by the Chestnut Hill Garden Club to the success of this project. This article from The Garden Club of America Bulletin gives more information about the project and describes the role of the Chestnut Hill Garden Club.