Kesseler Woods – Community Preservation in Action

This program focuses on the acquisition of Kesseler Woods via a public/private partnership. This was one of the last large, privately owned pieces of open space in Newton. By connecting the existing 20-acre Saw Mill Brook Conservation Area with the 5-acre Bald Pate Meadow Conservation Area, this new property will create a 50-plus-acre swath of green. In addition to recreational opportunities, this area will preserve much-needed wildlife habitat, enhance groundwater recharge, and provide other environmental benefits. The Newton Conservators played an important role in identifying the value of this open space, which runs between Brookline Street and Lagrange Street. The Conservators advocated for the purchase of Kesseler Woods, using Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to leverage a unique public-private partnership with Cornerstone Corporation developers. Under the plan, about half of the land will be developed for homes and condominiums, while the remaining 28 acres will remain protected open space and wetlands. Without this partnership, a developer could have built on most of the property, except for the wetland. The Conservators will also hold a conservation restriction on the preserved area and monitor the development of walking trails through the property. In this 2005 video, current and past presidents of the Conservators–Bill Hagar, Eric Reenstierna, and Doug Dickson–tell the story of this unique partnership, along with Mayor David Cohen, Alderman Rick Lipof, and developer Tom Southworth.

Watch the video