Friday, November 20, 2009

Essex Heritage Scenic Byway, Photo Contest Winners, Newburyport Trail, and Salem Success


Essex Heritage Scenic Byway Planning Advances

Over the last several months Essex Heritage along with the consulting team that have been brought in to help manage this process has conducted informational meetings in all 13 communities where the Scenic Byway will be shared. The “byway” that was the result of the planning process established at Essex Heritage will add a substantial regional asset when completed. The 64 mile trail that has gateway communities in Lynn and Newburyport will pass through Swampscott, Marblehead, Salem, Beverly, Manchester-By-The-Sea, Gloucester, Rockport, Ipswich, Essex, Rowley and Newbury and will ultimately assist travelers discover the regions rich heritage. Essex Heritage applied for and received grant funding from the National Scenic Byway Program and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to help bring together the coalition that has been developed with the thirteen communities. The goal of the plan that was outlined along with the broad participation that was offered from the cooperating communities is the development of a corridor management plan and an ultimate National Scenic Byway designation. The support and the advice offered at the meetings that have been held across the region have gone a long way to bringing the coalition managed by Essex Heritage to a successful achievement of the established goals. These 13 communities share parts of this regions spectacular shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean coastline, and collectively the “trail” will include 8700 properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places as well as several National Historic Landmark properties. From the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway, wonderful beaches, nature trails, and parcels of conservation land as well as five Essex Heritage Visitor centers can be accessed. When the plan is in place slightly over a year from now, Essex Heritage will lead an effort to begin to secure additional funding to carry out the plans that will be outlined in the management plan.

Special Note: We were very pleased to see the editorial that was printed in the November 19, 2009 edition of the Salem News that highlighted the essence of the work being done to deliver a Scenic Byway to this region. Editorial Page Editor, Nelson Benton has always had a wonderful understanding of the work that is required to complete a wide ranging regional project and we appreciate the Salem News endorsement of our work.

Essex Heritage Announces Photo Contest Winners

Essex Heritage is pleased to announce the winners of the 2009 Photo Contest sponsored by Hunts Photo and Video and Definitely Digital. This year the contest drew more entries than in any other previous year, with over one hundred images submitted by 35 contestants. The winners of this year’s Essex Heritage Photo Contest are:
Grand Prize Winner; Edmund Prescottano who submitted a photo of “Old Glory” with the Friendship in the background” at the Salem Maritime Historic Site

Category- On a Photo Safari1st Prize: Dana Dinatale, Halibut Point State Park"Three Wishes: Strength, Courage, and Perseverance"2nd Prize: Nadine Mitchell, Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site"Water Wheels"3rd Prize: Sandy Peacock, Halibut Point State Park, "Star & Friends"

Category-National Historic Landmarks1st Prize: June Rhodes, Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site, "Windows"2nd Prize: Amanda Levy, Derby Summer House, Glen Magna Farms, Danvers3rd Prize: Tammy Tolosko, Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm, Newbury, "17th Century Jewel"

Category- My Space 1st Prize: Gregg Mazzotta, Crane Estate, Ipswich2nd Prize: Jesse Redlener, Weir Hill, North Andover3rd Prize: Susan Plutsky, Hospital Point Lighthouse, Beverly

Category- General Images of the Essex National Heritage Area1st Prize: Trish McGregor, Herrick's Dairy Farm, Rowley, "New England Farming"2nd Prize: Joseph Carlin, Eagle Hill River & Clam Flats, Ipswich, "Sunrise"3rd Prize: Elinor Teele, Essex, MA, "Yellow Boat"

We are pleased to also announce that the award winning photos will be on display at a public reception on Thursday, December 10, 2009 at the National Park Service Regional Visitor Center in Salem at 5:30 pm. Please come and join us and enjoy the wonderful winning photos and some light refreshments at the reception...

Daily News of Newburyport lauds Progress on Tri-Community Rail Trail

Essex Heritage who is an active partner in the efforts to develop the Clipper City Rail Trail was very pleased to see a most complimentary editorial in the local Newburyport Newspaper lauding the progress being made on that trail in the City of Newburyport. The editorial pointed out that even though the trail is not yet complete and in some areas, is still under construction, more and more folks are taking advantage of the trail. The trail is expected to be nearly completed by next spring, and as we head into the nicer weather more and more residents will be able to take advantage of this exceptional new community asset. In neighboring Salisbury the Old Eastern Marsh trail follows the same railroad right of way, but offers a much different view for users as the trail passes through salt marshes along the banks of the Merrimack River. When the two trails are fully completed, it will be possible to ride a bicycle from downtown Amesbury to Newburyport, over about five miles of rail trails. Bill Steelman, the Director of Heritage Development for Essex Heritage continues to play an important role in this regional project and Essex Heritage is particularly pleased to have played a part in this effort. Essex Heritage is either leading or participating in dozens of regional projects all designed to make this area a better place for all of us to either live or work.

Haunted Happenings Turns a Profit for the City of Salem

It wasn’t too long ago that many residents in Salem were lamenting the crowds of holiday revelers that descended on the City every year during the month of October. The crowds and the parking woes that made many residents unhappy were compounded by the fact that the Halloween events usually wound up costing the City money to manage. All of that has changed under the current city administration when Mayor Kim Driscoll and her team took over the management of the events celebrated on the 3oth of October each year, In the current year the city has recognized a healthy profit from the late fall events and showed net revenues slightly in excess of $270,000. The revenue for this past October was up almost $66,000 from the period one year ago. The Halloween Holiday this year concluded on a weekend and that coupled with better than average weather contributed too much larger crowds and increased revenue for the City. Increasing revenue for any municipality is most critical in these days of ever decreasing State aid. Just a few short years ago, the City of Salem was facing a financial crisis with a school funding issue added to an already challenged municipal budget, and expanding the Halloween experience in Salem might have been the last thing residents were thinking about at that time. The events scheduled around this holiday were always a positive to many merchants in the city, but the cost of the program when added to the inconvenience for residents made expansion a difficult decision for the City leadership. Under the leadership of Mayor Driscoll she has constructed a program that has most everyone happy. Parking revenue is way up for the city, vendors pay a reasonable amount for the right to participate in the events and for the most part residents at least feel that the City is compensated for the efforts that go into the events and the planning for them. .Congratulations to the City leadership for a safe and successful event that not only provided a fun experience for many, but that also paid its way and even adding a little to the city coffers to help pay for some of the other City needs.

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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