Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coastal Improvements, Haverhill Project, Regional Holiday Events, Good Luck to Region's High Schools,


Coastal Improvements Scheduled in the Northeast Corner of the Region

There was some most welcome news reported recently for the communities of Newbury and Salisbury. The Army Corp of Engineers has opened bids to complete a major dredging project that will both improve access to Newburyport Harbor and to also replenish sand on two local beaches. The Corp will remove over 150,000 cubic yards of sand from the channel leading to the mouth of the Merrimack River, and then redeposit that valuable sand on the badly eroded beaches of Plum Island and Salisbury Beach. Dredged material is usually disposed of off shore, but in this case, the decision to move the material to locations where it is needed most, is a most wise decision. The decision to deposit the sand in much needed beach locations is a critical one. Over that last several years the beaches along Plum Island have been devastated by northeast storms and in the recent past several houses have been destroyed due to undermining caused by the storms. The cost of this project will exceed $3.2 million and the Federal Government will provide the majority of the funding, but the State and the local communities will also participate in the funding. The timetable for the project is also most welcome as plans call for the dredging to be completed by late winter and the sand moved by very early spring due to certain environmental issues. This is a project that has been a long time in the planning and Essex Heritage congratulates all of the regional and local officials who have worked on this project.

The City of Haverhill Continues to Receive Good News

The city of Haverhill has been the recipient of many recent federal grants including a grant to begin planning for a bike path, and now funds have been allocated for a restoration project. This grant that totals $7.4 million will be used to begin restoration work on historic Hamel Mills Lofts, a historic shoe factory in the downtown. The project when completed will produce over 300 units of housing, and some of those units will be considered affordable. This a wonderful reuse project and Essex Heritage is very supportive of projects like this one that help preserve some of historic fabric of this region.

Holiday Concerts and Events Happening all over the Region

This is certainly a wonderful time of the year and the communities of the region from one end of the region to the other are offering celebratory events. Just to list a few events:

  • The Essex Holiday Festival begins on Thursday, December 3rd with tree lighting at the Town Hall, and Santa will arrive by boat on the Essex River.
  • Santa will arrive by boat next Saturday at Popes Landing in Danvers from noon until 4:00 pm and rides and refreshments will be available. This is an event sponsored jointly by the Danvers Recreation Department and the River Committee.
  • Holiday music will be featured at the Methuen Music Hall on the weekend of Dec 4-6. There will be free event of Friday evening followed by organ concerts on Saturday and Sundays. Tickets for these concerts can be obtained by visiting www.mmmh,org or by calling 603-898 5702
  • Merchants in Rockport will celebrate a milestone this year with the 25th annual Christmas in Rockport program. A calendar of activities in Rockport is available at
  • Danvers Historical Society will be offering holiday events this coming weekend and next. On December 4th the Society will offer its annual soiree and on Sunday Dec 6th a Christmas Tea. The following weekend a choral presentation will be offered by Essex Harmony. All events will be held at Glen Magna Farms in Danvers. Reservations for all of these events can be obtained by contacting

North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau to Temporarily Close Salisbury Visitor Center

We are very sorry to report that the North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau has been forced to temporarily close the Maria Miles Visitor Center on Route 95 in Salisbury due to State funding cuts. This visitor center that is closely associated with Essex Heritage has had to severely limit its hours between now and the Christmas Holiday, and then unless other funding is obtained will have to remain closed through the winter months. This center that receives some of its annual funding through the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program is not the only State Visitor Center in the region that has been affected by the current State budget crisis, as the center on Route 495 in Chelmsford is also closed. We will continue to monitor this situation as the Salisbury Visitor center is one of the most visited centers in the Commonwealth, and provides wonderful support to Essex Heritage as we welcome visitors to this region.

Town of Danvers Party with a Purpose

On Sunday evening, my wife and I attended a wonderful event held every year on Thanksgiving weekend. The event is held in the lobby of Danversbank and local merchants donate all of the refreshments. The party kicks off the Danvers Community Council’s annual fundraising event for those in need in this community and as in other years was a very big success. I am certain that there are many events like this one held all over this region, and if you have a chance to attend a similar event this holiday season or make a donation to help support community causes please do so. You will certainly feel better after you participate


As in almost every recent year, Essex County is well represented in the MIAA Football Tournament. Several local schools completed successful regular seasons on this past Thanksgiving and will now represent this region on Tuesday night in the first round of the annual playoffs, Games will be played in Lowell, Reading and at the recently refurbished Manning Field in Lynn. Gloucester, Lynnfield, Masconomet and Marblehead High Schools will proudly represent this region in the first round of playoff games. We wish all the schools well; and certainly expect that some of the schools will find their way into the next round of the playoffs next weekend.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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