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Observatory closed
Historic association angling for tree trim

11/02/17
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 For the past few years, the Manchester Historic Association has been opening the Weston Observatory in Manchester to the public for two weekends in October, charging a small admission fee and allowing visitors to climb the tower and catch stunning views of the city and fall foliage. 

But this year, the tower remained closed.
“We’ve chosen not to [open] simply because we want the views to be addressed,” MHA Executive Director John Clayton said.
He said the trees have grown so tall around the granite 66-foot tower on Oak Hill in Derryfield Park that some would-be-amazing views are completely obscured.
“The way the tree line has grown up since the tower was installed really blocks any view to the south or to the east. And while we have prime views to the west, even the view to the north now is partially [obscured] because the trees have grown taller than the tower itself,” Clayton said.
The tower, which is managed by the city Parks and Recreation Department, is closed throughout the year. So for many lifelong residents, getting to climb it and look out from its top is a sort of bucket-list item, Clayton said.
“We’d like to give them that opportunity again, but we don’t want them to give us their five dollars and then climb the tower and come back disappointed that they weren’t able to enjoy the view that tower was meant to provide,” Clayton said.
Given the altitude difference between the east and west sides of the city, the tower observatory stands about 360 feet above Elm Street, allowing viewers to see all the way to downtown and across the Merrimack River to the West Side.
At the start of the fall, Clayton and MHA Board Chair Ed Brouder sent a letter to Parks and Rec Director Don Pinard asking the department to address the tree issue, saying a century of growth has “totally obliterated” the views the the south and east.
The MHA received no response. Pinard has not responded to the Hippo’s request for an interview.
Clayton said that if the trees are cut down, one would be able to see the Prudential Building in Boston to the south with the aid of binoculars and the ocean to the east. 





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