NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

September 23, 2010

Lower Green an 'endangered' resource

NEWBURY — The historic Lower Green has been named one of Massachusetts' "Most Endangered Historic Resources" by a state historic preservation advocacy organization.

The organization, Preservation Massachusetts, compiles an annual list of 10 endangered resources, as part of an advocacy and education program.

The green itself is not under threat of development, but a large parcel of land abutting it has been sold for housing lots.

Development of the adjacent property "would forever change the cultural context and view of the Lower Green from cultural landscape to development backdrop," Preservation Massachusetts said in a statement released yesterday.

A group called Save the Lower Green Committee has been working to raise $500,000 to buy the four acres next to the green as a buffer to preserve the views and atmosphere surrounding the green.

Save the Lower Green Committee spokesman Lon Hachmeister, who lives nearby on High Road, said the "most endangered" designation is an important one.

"It gives us the visibility we need and will help with our fundraising," he said. "It shows we're not just a small group in Newbury, but it's more of a statewide concern."

He said that, unlike the Upper Green near the Newburyport line, the Lower Green has no historic designation.

Hachmeister said the committee is working with Essex County Greenbelt Association, which would be the actual owner of the property and the recipient of money donated to the campaign to purchase the land.

He said about $225,000 has been pledged since the committee entered into an 18-month agreement with the current owner, Sadru Hemani of Newburyport, to raise the purchase price. The agreement expires in September 2011.

Hachmeister said the committee will be writing grants and doing other fundraising — including a fall festival on Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9 to 11.

The Lower Green in Newbury has been a historic touchstone for the town since 1635 when colonists traveled up the Parker River and settled Newbury a few hundred yards from its location.

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