The town of Weston has completed its $13.4 million acquisition of the 62.5-acre Case Estate nursery from Harvard University, which was delayed for nearly a decade after environmental contamination was discovered, leading to a dispute that ended up in court.

The town closed on the property on Wellesley and Ash streets on June 8 after Harvard submitted documentation indicating the environmental cleanup was substantially complete, Weston Town Manager Donna VanderClock said. The contamination included pesticides and chemicals related to agricultural uses prior to Harvard’s ownership.

Funding from the Community Preservation Act partially paid for Weston’s purchase, VanderClock said. A 14-acre portion of the site has been set aside for passive recreation. Other sections have been suggested for a future public school, and town officials said some of the land could be sold for residential development. The property contains three buildings: a historic house, barn and schoolhouse.

Weston town meeting originally approved $22.5 million for the property in 2006, after Harvard offered the property to the town as an alternative to a sale to a residential developer.

Harvard reduced the price to $19.5 million in 2010 after the extent of the contamination was determined. The town filed a lawsuit in Superior Court asking to enforce the terms of the 2010 agreement, which required Harvard to remove the contamination. In May 2015, the two sides reached an agreement for Weston to pay $13.4 million with Harvard agreeing to a partial clean-up.

Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum used the property as a nursery since 1942.

Harvard Sells 62-Acre Property After Lengthy Dispute

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min