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Petition aims to save Scotch pine at 821 Mass. Ave.

821 Mass. Ave. pine in 2024. / Marina Popova photo

Marina Popova, a 20-year town resident, is a Precinct 13 Town Meeting member who says she aims to “make our town even more beautiful and welcoming for all.” To reach that goal, she works with such local organizations as Arlington Invasives, Arlington Tree Committee and Mothers Out Front. She has a petition seeking the save the tree in photo at right.

The Redevelopment Board plans on Monday, July 1, to consider a proposal to redevelop 821 Mass. Ave., the Atwood House, next to the CVS near Arlington High School.

While I welcome the addition of much-needed commercial space to Arlington, the plan includes demolishing a remarkable, healthy Scotch pine tree. It has a 22-inch diameter, which calculates to from 80 to 100 years old, depending on which growth factor you use (3.5 or 5).

Take a look at the images of this tree -- now and on the 1974 postcard from the Arlington Historical Society collection >> 

The image of the house is from 1915. If the tree is the same, that makes it 109 years old. You can see this same image in this WickedLocal collection >>

This is a very healthy, magnificent tree that is older than probably most people living in Arlington.

Trees like these are far and few in between in Arlington and in Massachusetts in general -- and they should be treasured, admired and protected at all costs. Dollar amounts alone cannot adequately represent the value this tree provides to our environment and the whole Arlington community.

The tree does not have to be killed. There are many ways to architect and design the new project that would preserve the tree, as was evident from an earlier plan submitted to ARB in 2020 -- in which this tree was preserved, and the building was shifted slightly closer to CVS. There are many other ways to incorporate the tree into the design, such as creating a courtyard where the tree would be the gem and the magnet for attraction.

1915 photo of Atwood House, Arlington Historical Society1915 photo of Atwood House, Arlington Historical Society

If you are as upset about losing this tree as I am, please consider doing some or all of the below:

Reference note:

A collection of published articles about the history of this famous house:

    • YourArlington published a series of articles about this house and history of all town decisions and hearings. The most important part is that this house was requested to be preserved originally, but the owner illegally started the demolition process. Please read the fascinating details in this post >>   

This plea was published Saturday, June 29, 2024.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2024

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