The Arnold Arboretum, a vast Harvard-administered horticultural garden in Jamaica Plain off Route 1, may be partially destroyed if the city of Boston persists in its plans to build a 30 acre consolidated high school in the area, the CRIMSON learned yesterday.
The city and state governments are currently involved in a controversy over the six acre Bussey Institute land which adjoins the Arboretum. If Boston gets the Bussey land, some two dozen acres of the Arboretum would be in danger. Although Harvard administers the Arboretum, the land is owned by the City.
The Bussey Institute is a joint Harvard-State public laboratory situated on land now owned by Harvard. However, University officials are in the process of selling the Bussey site to the State for $600,000
Once the State owns the Bussey land, Boston may attempt to seize the six acres by eminent domain as the core for its high school complex. The site is ideal for a school because of its proximity to the Forest Hills subway station.
A complicated legal question would then arise concerning a city's right to seize State-owned property.
Harvard authorities are officially "concerned" over the danger to the Arboretum, but they stress that the title to the Arboretum property, and thus the decision on it, rests with the City. University officials added, "Many Harvard alumni would be tremendously upset by any encroachment on the Arboretum land."