Monday, November 9, 2009

Danvers School Project, Methuen Festival of Trees, Topsfield Historical Society Thanksgiving Event, John Goff Publishes a Book

Monday, November 9, 2009

Danvers Finance Committee to Address New High School Project Tonight

This evening at 7:00 pm the Danvers Finance Committee will meet to consider all the facts before voting on the proposal to fund the construction of a new High School project in Danvers. The meeting will be held in the Holten-Richmond middle school all purpose room and this public hearing will be the last meeting before a final vote on the new High School project at Town Meeting in a week. There have been numerous meetings on this project over the last several months and as a member of the Finance Committee, I look forward to casting my vote in favor of this project. The many town officials who have developed this plan and managed the public process have done a wonderful job of bringing all of the facts to everyone in the Town of Danvers who wanted to have information about the project. The cost of this project at just under $80 million dollars is very expensive, but the working groups that have managed this project have made many adjustments to make certain that the project is utilitarian, without frills, and will serve the citizens of Danvers well for the foreseeable future. The Town has negotiated a substantial commitment from the Commonwealth that will reduce the Town’s final costs to just short of $38 million. In this plan, the Commonwealth’s funding will be provided during construction rather than over time, and that will help the project financially. The Town has also established a funding plan that will include the issuance of long-tern bonds that will be paid over a thirty year term at more than likely some of the most favorable long term rates in recent history. As always the Town has completed its do diligence on this project and it appears that this much needed project can be favorably accepted at the Town meeting scheduled for November 16, 2009, and then the project can begin in earnest.

Methuen Festival of Trees
One of the most successful events in this region that benefits the preservation effort takes place annually in one of the most northerly communities in Essex County. For many years a hard working committee in the City of Methuen has organized a wonderful event called the Festival of the Trees. The proceeds from this event that runs from late November through the first week of December are allocated to a series of grants that are offered to enhance the historic preservation effort in that community. A couple of Trails and Sails weekends ago, I spent a wonderful day in Methuen participating in a tour expertly provided by Commissioner Joe Bella that opened my eyes to the depth of he historic fabric of this border community. The Festival of Trees this year is “kicking off” with a gala opening night on November 20t, 2009. Tickets for that event and all other viewing sessions can be purchased now by calling 978 685-8878 or by e-mailing The opening night of this wonderful event is on sale now and is limited to the first 300 attendees. Opening night will feature guest appearances by celebrities as well as a sampling of specialty dishes from that communities finest eating establishments. At the opening there will 200 decorated trees on display and at the end of the Festival those trees will be auctioned off to benefit the preservation effort in Methuen, This year the Festival runs from November 20th through December 5, 2009, and more information on schedules and ticket acquisition can be obtained at the phone number and e-mail address noted above. This is wonderful event and certainly worthy of regional support.

Topsfield Historic Society Thanksgiving Event
I saw an announcement recently offered by the Topsfield Historical Society about a Thanksgiving morning event that certainly looks like it would fun. Essex Heritage has a wonderful relationship with the Topsfield Historical Society, and over the years we have held many wonderful regional events in their Gould Barn. We had one of our Annual Meetings in the Society’s barn, and just last tear when we had the National Park Service’s Second century Commission visit the region for a hearing on the future of the Park Service; once again the venue was the famous Gould Barn. We have several hard working Commissioners at Essex Heritage who represent the Society on the Commission.
On Thanksgiving morning, the Topsfield Historical Society will hold its annual Thanksgiving Open House at the Parson Capen House on Howlett Street in Topsfield. From 10:00 a.m. until noon. The Bartlett family will be dressed in period clothing and will greet guests, roast a turkey in an open fireplace, and offer hot and cold cider and popcorn as refreshments to their guests. Admission to the event is free, and is offers for a great cause and deserves regional support. Donations to support the work of the Society will be accepted. I know that this seems to be a bit early to make this announcement over two weeks before the holiday, but that day is a day filled with family visits and good times, and an event like this one needs to be place on a family schedule early to be sure to take in the experience. To learn more about the event, call Allison D'Amario days at 978-508-641-8814 or evenings at 978-887-8321.

Essex Heritage Commissioner Publishes Book about Salem
One of Essex Heritage’s most energetic Commissioners, John Goff has written a book about one of Salem’s most famous historic houses. The book titled, Salem’s Witch House: A Touchstone to Antiquity has been published by The History press located both in Salem and in Charleston, South Carolina. The book is a 128 page paperback and is illustrated and takes a special look at the 400 year history of one of Salem’s most historic landmarks. John has also become an expert on the Indian history of this region, and also writes a weekly column for the local Salem weekly newspaper. It is clear that John is a busy guy, and we are so pleased to have him as an active Commissioner at Essex Heritage.
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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