The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 9, 2006


Consultant recommends Town Common spruce-up

Landscape architect Nicholas Reed of Westford, Massachusetts, submitted his Preservation Plan for the Carlisle Common to the Town Common Committee (TCC) at their June 6 meeting. The document provides a resource and planning tool for the town in the "future preservation of its most historic and important civic space," according to Reed. The goal of the plan, as affirmed by acting TCC Chair Sylvia Sillers, is the preservation of the visual quality of the Common while recognizing the dynamic and active life of this space.

Reed's eight-page document featured topographical drawings of the Common, first with existing conditions, and followed by the addition of utilities and lighting, topography, paths and circulation, landscaping and furniture, and finally, immediate action items. In addition to the plan, Reed also submitted a detailed layout of a redesigned Carlisle War Memorial that captured the imagination of the committee.

The proposed plan, which was funded by the Carlisle Garden Club, will be presented to the Board of Selectmen at a later date. It calls for a limited number of utilities consisting of a water line with a vandal-proof hydrant and several waterproof-and-vandal proof electrical outlets. Lighting is limited to special features and, if desired, historic styled fixtures along School Street to ensure pedestrian safety. Subtle re-grading is recommended to provide an enlarged area with a less steep incline surrounding the flagpole. Reed proposed that "Paths or walks on the Common should be limited. Future walks, if any, should be surfaced with stone dust."

The landscaping of the Common consists of two primary goals. The first is to maintain the existing desirable plantings and second to provide a strategy for the replacement of removed or undesirable plants and the addition of new planting to enhance the visual quality of the Common. "The selected plants should be of native species only," urged Reed. "Location of the shade trees, flowering trees and shrubs should not diminish the open feeling or block any important views into or out of the Common." The installation of site furniture would be limited to a few benches and trash receptacles of a durable and inconspicuous nature.


Reed presented a list of what he believes are immediate action items that should be undertaken as soon as possible.

1. Assessment by an arborist of the condition and health of the existing plantings with recommendations for immediate and long term care.

2. Removal of existing utility poles and the burying of utility lines.

3. Repair erosion along Church Street on the Common side, install paved swale, and restrict parking for one year.

4. Remove soil between the retaining wall and pavement on Concord Street. Add loam and re-seed.

5. Core-aerate and slice seed all existing lawn areas with drought tolerant seed mix.

6. Evaluate the existing War Memorial for potential re-design.

It was the last recommendation that prompted Reed to sketch out his concept for a re-designed War Memorial. The existing memorial consists of two honor rolls located on the Common and facing Concord Street. These would be moved back from the road by ten feet or so, and backed by a semi-circular two-foot high stone wall and shrubbery. The area would be slightly re-graded and the base of the two honor rolls paved with cobblestone. A stone bench or flat shelf in the wall would provide seating on either side of the memorial. A post and chain fence might be erected in front of the memorial to provide separation from Concord Street.

TCC member Alan Cameron expressed gratitude to Reed for his efforts, as did the other members of the committee. All agreed that other town organizations, such as the Historical Commission, will be included in any final plans before they are proposed to the Selectmen.

Town Common maintenance

TCC member Jack O'Conner reported that Gary Davis, superintendent of the Carlisle D.P.W., and his men had completed the aeration, liming and fertilization of the Town Common this spring. "We applied a ton of lime — 40 fifty-pound bags — and 14 fifty-pound bags of organic fertilizer, after aerating the lawn for improved penetration," said O'Connor. He plans for the Common to receive three applications of fertilizer throughout the year; once in the spring and again in August and October. Townspeople should begin to notice the difference almost immediately, especially given the generous amount of rainfall we are receiving to soak in the nutrients.

The next meeting of the Town Common Committee is scheduled for July 11.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito