© 2019 Project GreenER ~ Healing Historic Greens

In The News

Selectmen postpone discussion of Upper Green plan

By Jennifer Solis Correspondent | Feb 8, 2019 Updated Feb 8, 2019​


NEWBURY — Selectmen have postponed a discussion planned for Tuesday on a proposed improvement project for the historic Upper Green until after project organizers can gather more community input.

Newbury resident Cole Ablow, 16, and his group GreenER are working to schedule a public meeting at Newbury Elementary School by the end of this month or early March. Last month, the nonprofit received mixed reviews from residents when it presented a plan to rehabilitate the Upper Green to selectmen and the Planning Board. - - - 


LETTER: Another view of Upper Green meeting

To the editor: 

- - - One hopes that the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board, having taken the information from both sides, will maintain both objectivity and respect for historical tradition. By the same token, Cole Ablow, working with his father, initiated not only a plan, but an important discussion.

Click here to read the full article published in The Daily New Newburyport 

LETTER: Honored to present the Upper Green plans

To the editor: 


We were honored to present Project GreenER’s plan to rehabilitate and beautify the Newbury Upper Green last night (Tuesday, Jan. 22) at a joint session of the Newbury Board of Selectmen and Planning Board. Our plan seeks to highlight the history of Newbury, which was founded as an agricultural town, to bring attention to the sacrifices of those whose names grace the war memorials, to enhance the safety of the Little League ballfield, to aerate and clean the pond, and to restore the canopy of healthy, beautiful trees that once defined the perimeter of the green - - -

Click here to read the full letter published in The Daily News Newburyport

Newbury Residents Voice Mixed Views of Upper Green Redo

By Jack Shea | Staff Writer | Jan 24, 2019 Updated Jan 24, 2019

- - - Cole Ablow said while he hopes to continue with improvement projects in other communities, he looks forward to seeing his work at the Upper Green, where he learned to ice skate and fell in love with hockey as a child.

“The goal is to keep working with other historic greens, but the vision was always to start with this one, which is the most important one to me, and it would be an honor to see change in something people care about,” he said.

Click here to read the full article published in The Daily News Newburyport


Mar 9 2018 9:02 AM

Cole Ablow '20 recently earned 501(c)(3) nonprofit status for his organization, GreenER, dedicated to restoring historically-significant parks and greens. Cole has worked very hard to obtain certification, including innumerable meetings with the Board of Selectmen, Highway Department, Recreation Committee, and Historical Committee. He is now arranging a topographic study, then a wastewater study, alerting abutters, and more. In the first week of obtaining 501(c)(3) status, opening the door to accept donations, GreenER raised $11,000!

Cole founded this organization with Ryan Hass (St. John's Prep) - - - 

Founder and President, Cole Ablow, 7, skates on the Upper Green pond.  Now, Cole has founded GreenER to restore the Upper Green to its full potential.  Photo is courtesy of the Newburyport Daily News, Captured by Ben Laing in December, 2009.


By Jennifer Solis | Correspondent | March 30, 2017

NEWBURY — A proposal to refresh the historic Upper Green pasture was the focus of a presentation to selectmen this week.

Newbury resident Cole Ablow, 13, is leading the project with help from his father, Keith Ablow. He has established the nonprofit GreenER, dedicated to improving the condition of historic town greens around New England.

Anna Weinburgh, 14, of Hamilton is co-founder of the organization, with Jack and David Furneaux also involved in the effort. Verne Fisher of Visionary Landscapes LLC led the presentation to town leaders Tuesday evening. Selectmen were generally enthusiastic about the concept but did push back on a few aspects.

GreenER’s proposal is to upgrade the historic pasture on High Road to re-create the feeling of an old-fashioned common.

Sugar maple trees would be planted 50 to 60 feet apart around the triangular perimeter of the green, much like the elm trees that grew there back in the 1800s before Dutch elm disease destroyed them. Sugar maples are a native species that offer an impressive canopy with dramatic deep red and orange leaves in the fall. Local schoolchildren could tap the trees for syrup as an educational project as well, Keith Ablow noted.

The group also proposes brick pathways and park benches around the pond, the flagpole and nearby war memorials to highlight these spots and make them more handicapped accessible. 


A fountain would aerate the pond to keep it clean and keep the geese away; a row of hydrangeas would create a buffer near the junction of Parker Street and High Road.

Signs could be added to educate the public about the history of the green and its use as a place for residents to graze their cattle; and a few bronze statues of cattle, illuminated at night, could serve as a reminder to passersby of the special history of this property, members of the group said.

In another corner, nearest to Green Street, picnic tables installed within a grove of flowering dogwood trees would provide another spot for people to gather. In the third area, closest to the junction of High Road and Hanover Street and toward the center of the green, plenty of space would be left open for the existing ball field and other active recreation, with a fund established to help with maintenance of the playing field.

Selectmen Chairman Geoff Walker said the Historical Commission submitted a letter with a few concerns. Viewed as “the heart of Old Town,”  the Upper Green was established in 1642 “as a shared pasture land and gathering place,” the letter states.

“When the town was incorporated in 1635, its first settlement was located at the mouth of the Parker River, around the Lower Green. In the next decade a second settlement was established on higher ground. The Upper Green, originally known as ‘the trayneing green’ was a triangular plot laid out in 1642 to serve the First Parish of this new settlement.”

The green was the site of army encampments on Sept. 18-19, 1775, and a boulder marks the spot where Gen. Benedict Arnold trained troops during the Revolutionary War, before he became a turncoat.

Because it is part of a nationally designated historic district, care must be taken to ensure any work maintains the green’s character as a pasture and that it isn’t transformed into a park.

For example, statues are not consistent with this designation. Members of the Historical Commission said they were pleased with the interest in preserving the green, but don’t want anything done to unintentionally affect its historic status, explained members Jan Forrest and Lon Hachmeister.

Selectman JR Colby pointed out an area of the green that must be kept the way it is to allow for the popular firemen’s musters held there. He also wanted assurances the town’s Christmas tree would remain – though he joked that he wouldn’t mind if the nonprofit replaced the current, funky, S-shaped evergreen with a more traditional-looking Christmas tree.

“We don’t want to impugn any traditional use of the green,” Keith Ablow assured town leaders.

Selectman Damon Jespersen stressed the importance of making sure people in the community have a chance to voice their thoughts about the proposal.

“There just has to be general buy-in to change something so significant to the town,” he said.


This article was published in The Daily News - Newburyport.
Click here to view the original publication.