Wednesday, January 20, 2010

U S Senate Election Results, Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program Guidelines , Salem Partnership Newsletter, Whittier Bridge Hearing


Election Results for the Special Election for United States Senator

The results of the special election held yesterday to fill the vacant United States Senate seat were truly extraordinary. The win by Massachusetts State Senator and soon to be seated US Senator, Scott Brown was a testament to a wonderfully crafted election campaign and much hard work by both the candidate and his supporters. Senator Brown certainly captured a substantial portion of the independent voters in the State who clearly sent a strong message to all elected officials in both the Commonwealth and in Washington to reconsider recent activities. Essex Heritage congratulates US Senator elect Scott Brown who the electorate is sending to Washington to represent all of the citizens of the Commonwealth, but it is clear that in addition to sending Senator Brown to Washington, a message is also being sent that should resonate loud and clear. The recent plans and activities surrounding the adjustments being planned for health care in this country needs to be .reconsidered and a more participatory process needs to be put in place. .

Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program Restored
In several recent postings I have reported that the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant program was going to be reinstated and that $25,000 would be available in ten $2,500 grants. It was announced today that the grant process is now open for applications and Essex Heritage is prepared to accept online applications at for the matching seed grant program to eligible Essex County organizations. Suspended in 2009 due to budget constraints, Essex Heritage is fulfilling a strategic priority by providing financial assistance to those organizations that steward this region's nationally significant heritage. Essex Heritage is currently accepting on-line proposals from municipalities and qualified nonprofit organizations for projects and activities that support Essex Heritage's mission to preserve and promote the historic, cultural, and natural resources of the Essex National Heritage Area. $2,500 grants will be provided to ten qualified applicants whose projects:
Create or further develop educational opportunities for youth
Increase awareness and understanding of the region’s heritage
Preserve and enhance historic structures, landscapes and cultural resources

Detailed information about the Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program, including guidelines, criteria, deadlines, frequently asked questions and application materials, are available online at Review of the guidelines is highly recommended as significant changes are being implemented with this year’s program, including the online only application process and pre-set grant amount.
Essex Heritage is pleased to be able to bring this important and popular program back to the region. If you have a program that you believe will meet the criteria identified, please review the application process and consider offering an application.
City of Salem/Salem Partnership Economic Growth Initiatives Newsletter
I recently received a copy of a newsletter published jointly by the City of Salem, and the Salem Partnership. Essex Heritage has always had a particular interest in the activities of the Salem Partnership, as the creation of Essex Heritage was the direct result of actions initially instituted by the Salem Partnership. Both Annie Harris and I have long associations with the Salem Partnership and both of us still serve on that organization’s Executive Board. The newsletter released today was filled with optimistic reports of economic progress in the City of Salem assisted by the Salem Partnership run by Executive Director Patricia Zaido, who also serves as a Commissioner of Essex Heritage. Updates on projects that have long been associated with the Salem Partnership and other projects that will certainly affect the economic well being of the City were outlined. The report covered a wide range of projects including

J Michael Ruane Court Complex at Bridge and Federal Streets
New multi purpose Senior Center Building at Bridge and Boston Streets
MBTA Parking Garage at Bridge and Washington Streets
Old Salem Jail Restoration Project at Bridge and St Peter Streets
Bridge Street Causeway Park Project
Port Development , Harbor Walk and South River Dredging Projects

The newsletter provides complete details on all of the projects noted above and if you are interested in more detail than provided here, that information can be found on the Salem partnership web site at It is clear from the winter newsletter and the work of the current administration of the City of Salem and its Mayor Kimberly Driscoll that Salem is a community on the move.

Whittier Bridge Improvement Project to Hold Regional Hearing on January 21st

On Thursday, January 21, 2010 the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will hold a regional public hearing at Amesbury City Hall to present design plans for the massive Whittier Bridge/I95 project. This $285 million dollar highway project, the largest in the Commonwealth since the “Big Dig” project, will have a substantial impact on the northeastern part of the region served by Essex Heritage. The hearing on Thursday is open to the public and to learn more about the project or to voice concerns consider attending the meeting. Essex Heritage because of its close association with both the Border to Boston project and the Coastal Trails Coalition headed by Bill Steelman, Essex Heritage’s Director of Development has a special interest in seeing the project include a provision for bicycle and pedestrian access. Specifically Essex heritage supports three key proposed enhancements to the project: a linear bicycle and pedestrian facility crossing the Merrimack River, preservation of the former railroad tunnels under Rt 95 just north of Rt 110 and rehabilitation of the railroad corridor on either side to enable a rail-trail link between Salisbury and Amesbury, and the expansion of the existing Merrimack River Trail linking Mosely Woods and Maudslay State Park over public land. If these issues also resonate with you, consider attending the public hearing tomorrow at the Amesbury City Hall to make your thoughts known to the Commonwealth. Essex Heritage is most supportive of the plans outlined by the Coastal Trails Coalition to preserve a once in a lifetime opportunity to fulfill the promise of a truly diverse and inclusive transportation system in the Commonwealth and particularly her in the northeastern part of the State.

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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