Wednesday, December 6, 2010
Local Municipal Inaugurations
Since the New Year began the ten municipal governments in the region that have a Mayor serving as the chief executive of the city have all held inaugurations. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the ceremonies in Salem, as they were held right outside our door in the old Salem Town Hall. The Salem services were most impressive complete with honor guards and school choirs. Mayor Kin Driscoll and other elected city officials all took the oath of office. Mayor Driscoll is beginning her second four-year term, and promised to keep the City on the track of progress that it has been on during her first term.
Bill Steelman and Mary Williamson from the Essex Heritage staff both attended the swearing in services in Newburyport and reported that those services were equally impressive. In that community, the ten living former Mayors of Newburyport were presented by new Mayor Donna Holiday and thanked by youngsters from the school system for their previous service to the community, and that certainly was a nice touch. We were not able to attend any more of the regional services, but we congratulate Mayor Bonfanti of Peabody, Mayor Scanlon of Beverly, Mayor Kezer of Amesbury, Mayor Kennedy of Lynn, Mayor Kirk of Gloucester, Mayor Manzi of Methuen, Mayor Lantigua of Lawrence, Mayor Fiorentini of Haverhill and pledge to continue to offer the services of Essex Heritage to them and their communities whenever possible. We anticipate that all of these Mayors from our larger communities along with the Town Mangers, and Administrators and other senior officials from the other 24 communities in the region will attend the Municipal Leadership Breakfast that Essex Heritage is sponsoring on January 25, 2010 at the Marriott Hotel in Peabody. At that meeting, Essex Heritage has prepared a presentation that will focus on this organizations plan for the future, and will outline how those plans might be beneficial to the region’s communities.
Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program
In this space a few weeks back we provided some most positive news on the resumption of the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program. The program planning for the introduction of an “ON LINE” based application process is moving forward towards completion. We have had a slight amount of slippage in the planning process and the date when the application process will be complete and available for entries to be delivered has been moved back a bit. We now expect that certainly by the very early part of February the site to deliver applications will be “up and running”. We do not see any delay in the announcement of winners for the ten (10) $2500.00 Essex Heritage Grants and that process will be in place by early to mid spring 2010. Please continue to watch this space and other Essex Heritage communication processes as the information to signal a start to the process will be widely distributed in more than sufficient time for all who are interested in applying to meet application deadlines.
Preservation Easement Accepted by Essex Heritage
On the final day of 2009, Essex Heritage accepted a Preservation Easement on an apartment project in Lynn at Liberty Square and Washington Street. The Commission and the Preservation Easement Committee that has been established by Essex Heritage has worked diligently over the final quarter of this year to complete all of the voluminous paperwork that was required to complete the planning and the acceptance of this preservation easement. This is a new service offered by Essex Heritage that provides a much needed opportunity in this region. If there are other organizations who might want to learn more about this process and how it might be beneficial to them, please contact us at www.essexheritage.org. Essex Heritage will be pleased to set up a time for a more complete explanation of the benefits to an organization who might wish to learn how the offering of a Preservation Easement might be beneficial.
Asbury Grove Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
Just a few days before Christmas 2009, an announcement was made that another Essex County landmark property had been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The 150 year old Asbury Park Camp Meeting Ground formally run by the Methodist Church has now been added to the prestigious list of places in the country most worthy of preservation. This is wonderful news for former and present owners and residents of this century and a half old neighborhood. The area includes 153 modest cottages, some of which retain their fanciful wooded ornamentation. A handful of dormitories, built by church societies, as does a chapel built in 1894 survive even today. A library, dinning hall, and bakery, all constructed in the early 20th century remain as communal spaces serving current residents. Some of the most pressing renovations were made this past summer to the wooden tabernacle on the grounds. The tabernacle is thought to be the oldest such tabernacle in the country. The preservation work was accomplished by the residents of the community with substantial assistance from a $26,000 grant provided by the Town of Hamilton. The nomination to the register is a direct result of a meeting organized by Essex Heritage with board members of the Asbury Camp Meeting Corporation during the 2004-2005 Essex Heritage-Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Heritage Landscape Inventory project. At that time, Essex Heritage reached out to several experts from both the DCR consultant team and others to join with us in organizing a meeting with the board members of the Corporation. The corporation was encouraged to pursue the National Register listing at that time. In 2007, Essex Heritage also provided additional grant funding along with other funding sources to repair the 1894 tabernacle roof. We are very pleased that this result has been achieved, and is gratified that Essex Heritage played a small role in the process of designation.
As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts at www.essexheritage.org. Thanks. Tom Leonard