Friday, March 26, 2010

Partnership Grant Program, Heritage Hero Dinner, Quality of Life in the Region, National Park Service Activities


Essex Heritage Partnership Grant Program Moves Towards a Conclusion

After a one year hiatus the Essex Heritage partnership Grant Program that has provided over $1.75 million in funding to the region is back and is preparing to make a series of new grants. In 2010 the Commission has made $25,000 available for this regional matching funds program. These awards will be provided to ten applicants in the form of $2,500 grants. Earlier this year a call was issued to the region that indicated that a “scaled down” on-line application was being encouraged and the Commission was very pleased to see a wonderful response. Forty seven applications were received, and that total was about the same level of activity as in the most recent years. The Commission team responsible for creating a process of selection headed by Director of Heritage Development, Bill Steelman created an electronic grading system and after a preliminary screening eliminated some of the applicants, the remaining applications were forwarded electronically to the Essex Heritage screening committee for a more detailed analysis based on the quality and appropriateness of the requests.

Essex Heritage has always been blessed by the willingness of a cadre of committed volunteers who are experts in their fields, who willingly agree to serve annually on the Grants Selection Committee. That committee is headed by Essex Heritage Board of Trustee and former Mayor of Amesbury, David Hildt. David has been a dedicated chairman for a number of years, and now as a member of the not-for-profit industry himself as the Executive Director of Adelante Youth Center in Lawrence certainly understands the needs of this segment of the regional economy. The balance of the 2010 Committee included Judy Anderson, an Old House Consultant from Marblehead, K Brewer Doran, Dean of the Bertolon School of Business at Salem State College, Doug Kelleher, a preservation consultant with Epsilon Associates, Diana Kerry, from the North Shore Community College, Emily Murphy of the National Park Service and the Salem National Maritime Historic Site, Jessica Rowcroft of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Michael Steinitz of the Massachusetts Historical Commission, Mary Whitney a Consultant to Non profits and Rebecca Zimmerman, from Essex Links. We certainly appreciate all that this group of volunteers, many of whom are Commissioners of Essex Heritage do for this region and for this particular program.

This year in a change from past years, the remaining applicants were presented to the committee in an electronic format and the group diligently completed their review and subsequently voted on-line. All of the votes have now been cast and a slate of nominees for the awards has been organized. That list will now be presented to the Essex Heritage Board of Trustees early next month for final confirmation and then during the next several weeks all of the applicants will be notified of the actions taken on their grant application. On May 20, 2010 at the annual spring meeting of the Essex National Heritage Commission that will be held at 4:00 pm at the Blue Water Music Hall on the beach in Salisbury, just prior to the third annual Heritage Hero Awards Dinner, the ten grant recipients for 2010 will be announced to the public.

Heritage Hero Dinner

Just a brief note about the Heritage Hero Dinner, just mentioned above is appropriate at this point. This year’s event that will honor three of the most prominent citizens of the three towns in the northeast corner of this region is now only two months away, and invitations will be mailed in the next week or so. Please look for the invitation in the mail or visit the Essex Heritage web site at for more information about the event, It is never to early to make a reservation for this premier regional event. Tickets will move very quickly and you do not want to miss the opportunity to be at the Blue Water Music Hall on the Beach in Salisbury on May 20, 2010 when Essex Heritage recognizes the life achievements of Nick Costello, Byron Mathews, and Maria Miles

Quality of Life Survey

Some time ago, I noted that the Salem State College Center for Economic Development and Sustainability has agreed to conduct and evaluate a Quality of Life survey in the region for Essex Heritage and other regional organizations. The regional survey is seeking to define how “quality of life” issues can be quantified and the value of them to the local economy is measured. Essex Heritage has long believed that many who call this region home cite these values as primary reasons for living or working in this region. Now you can help us measure the value of this important component of life in this region. When I last wrote of this issue, we did not have a web site at the college in place at that time for you to complete the rather simple survey. That site is now in place and would you link to the site at and consider completing the survey to help us with this effort

Celebrate National Park Week Next Month

Each year during the month of April, the National Parks in this country including the two units of the Park Service in our region celebrates National Park week. It is a great time to get out into the great outdoors and help celebrate the start of spring. Each year the Park Service takes special time to celebrate what we have all inherited as Americans, 84 million acres of the world’s most spectacular scenery, historic landmarks and cultural treasures. During National Park week that this year will be celebrated from April 17 through April 24 the parks invite you to celebrate your special ownership of these assets. There are opportunities for volunteers and it is a great time to take a young person to a park and introduce them to these regional treasures. During National Park week entrance fees are waived at all sites so it is great time to get outside and enjoy the parks. It is never too early to make plans to visit a National Park site during this special week long celebration and enjoy all that is offered at one of these spectacular locations. In our region we are blessed to have two units of the National Park Service located in Salem and Saugus. The Salem Maritime Historic site and the Saugus Iron Works Historic Site are wonderful resources that help bring the long and storied history of this region to life. For more information about National Park Week visit the special web site that has been created at

Visit to the Region by the National Park Service’s Deputy Director

Speaking of the National Park Service, later today, along with the Essex Heritage President, Kevin Tierney and Executive Director, Annie Harris, I and others from our Executive Board will have the opportunity to spend a little time with the recently appointed Deputy Director of the National Park Service. Mr. Mickey Fearn is spending part of his day today with Salem and Saugus National Park Service Superintendant Patty Trap and her staff touring this region. Before his recent appointment, Mr. Fearn was associated with the City of Seattle, Washington where he created and directed a summer youth program for the City’s Parks and Recreation Department. Mr. Fearn was involved in many other activities in that West Coast City, and previously served as the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commissioner. He has also held management positions with the Governor of California, the State of California Department of Parks and Recreation and the City of Oakland. We are looking forward to the opportunity to meet with him and bring him current on the many ongoing and active youth education based programs of Essex Heritage in its ongoing partnership with the National Park Service.

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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