Monday, December 7, 2009

Regional Meeting Set, Community Parkland Grants Provided, NS Vocational Technical project Advances, Gloucester HS win Super Bowk Title

MONDAY, December 7, 2009

Regional Breakfast Meeting Set for January 25, 2010

We recently provided information in this space about a regional meeting we were planning with the area municipal leadership, the Massachusetts legislative body that represents this region and the members of the board of Trustees of Essex Heritage. We have now finalized the details of that meeting and are pleased to announce that Salem Five Bank has agreed to be the Presenting Sponsor of the breakfast. We are gratified that the bank that was one of the original supporters of the mission of Essex Heritage over a decade ago, has agreed to play a leadership role in this important regional meeting. Notices of the meeting have now been sent to the invitees and Essex Heritage is looking forward to the opportunity to offer a forum for continuing regional dialog and problem solving. It is very clear that these are difficult times for many communities in the region served by the Essex National Heritage Commission and anything that we can do to offer opportunities for regional leadership to gather together to learn of our ongoing projects and to join together to explore solutions to regional challenges is time well spent.

Congressman John Tierney, who has continued to offered his valuable support to the work of Essex heritage has also agreed to offer a presentation at the breakfast, that will focus specifically on how Essex Heritage’s strategic initiatives can help drive regional collaboration and economic opportunity for the entire region. We are pleased that the Congressman will be taking time from his busy schedule in Washington in these tumultuous times in our capitol city to be with us. His schedule is always in flux and never more so then right now, but baring an early morning congressional vote on January 25th he will be attending our meeting that morning.

Essex Heritage and our senior partner the National Park Service is pleased to be able to offer this regional forum on January 25, 2010 at the Marriot Hotel in Centennial Park in Peabody from 7:30 am until 9:00 am and encourage all of the invitees to respond to our invitation as soon as possible. Please contact Emily Levin at 978 740 0444 or at to confirm your attendance which is most important to us...

Local Communities Receive State Park Grants

Several Essex Heritage Community partners recently were advised of wonderful news by the Commonwealth. The Cities of Haverhill, Lawrence, Lynn, and Peabody were among twenty-two Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations Grants recently announced by the Commonwealth. One of the biggest winners was the City of Lynn that received a grant for almost one million dollars for two projects. The city received $500,000 to rebuild stairs and walkways to the wonderful High Rock Observation Tower. The observation Tower is located on one the highest spot in the region and the views offered from the site are astounding. The work that will be accomplished with this grant will help open the site to so many more residents. The city also received a second grant in the amount of $490,000 for the makeover of Flax Pond Park. These grants are great news for the City of Lynn and the recreational area affected will provide new opportunities for the residents of Lynn and neighboring communities to view this region from a different perspective,

The City of Peabody received $329,417 in grant money for the construction of an entry plaza, paths, benches and picnic tables at Walnut Street Park, a reclaimed brownfields industrial site. The City of Lawrence received funding in the amount of $424,920 for two projects including a neighborhood Community garden project which calls for the use of formally vacant lots to be used as community gardens and also received funds to install lights at a youth baseball park and to make improvements at Howard Playstead, one of the city’s oldest parks. The City of Haverhill received $282,064 in a parkland grant to support its “Return to Relevance” initiative adding boat landings, gangplanks from the downtown board walk to the boat docks on the Merrimack River and several waterless handicap accessible bathrooms

North Shore Vocational Technical School District Close to Approval

In the last week or so several communities took or will take votes that put the creation of a new Regional North Shore Vocational Technical school closer to reality. This project that has been established as a major priority of this region was established as a primary priority of several regional organizations, including Essex Heritage that became an early supporter of the project. In Gloucester the city Council in an important vote agreed to join the new district. This is a change from some of the thinking that Gloucester might not act positively at this time. The Mayor of Gloucester is still contemplating a veto of the vote by the council so the final tale on that community’s decision is not yet told. One can easily understand the Mayor’s reluctance to commit to a new financial obligation with all of the financial obligations that community is facing in the near term. The Cities of Salem and Beverly both have votes scheduled this week before the December 15th deadline imposed on the region by the funding commitment from the Commonwealth. These two votes will be important milestones in the process of approval. It certainly appears that this project so important to this region is becoming closer to attaining critical mass and final approval.

Congratulations to the Gloucester “Fishermen” on Their Super Bowl Win
Late last Saturday night in the middle of an early season snow storm the team from Gloucester High School was the only team from Essex County to emerge victorious in the MIAA final Super Bowl contests. They became the Division 1A champion with a convincing victory. We also extend our congratulations to both Marblehead and Masconomet High Schools for their runner up status and their wonderful effort last Saturday in less than ideal conditions at Gillette Stadium. All three Essex County community schools certainly did this region proud this past weekend.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. At the end of the posting there are options for comments and we encourage your thoughts, or you can always contact me with your comments, or suggestions at Thanks. Tom Leonard

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