Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Essex Heritage Rail Trail Update, Economic Summit in Danvers, Essex Heritage Annual Fund Progress, Whittier Bridge, Iceland Visit and a Local Walk


Coastal Trials Coalition Grand Opening Celebration

Essex Heritage is particularly pleased to have played a role in the overall development of the conversion process that has transformed abandoned railroad and in some cases electric right of ways into wonderful new community recreational assets. One of these new community assets links an emerging 30-mile public system of bicycle and pedestrian trails with the unique costal features, town centers, neighborhoods and transportation hubs in the four communities in the northeast corner of Essex County. Bill Steelman the Director for Heritage Development for Essex Heritage has been a wonderful resource and coordinator for many in the Essex National Heritage Area, as numerous communities in the region have undertaken the exploration and ultimate development of recreational bike and walking trails in the area. Bill’s willingness to offer the resources of Essex Heritage and his own personal experience in this process has been a welcome addition for many communities and their regional leaders and he has helped move this important initiative forward over the last several years,

Beyond the assistance to the regional impact of the broader Border to Boston Rail Trail, that he has helped to organize for Essex Heritage, the one project where he has taken both a personal and professional interest is the Coastal Trails Coalition that links the communities of Amesbury, Newburyport, Newbury and Salisbury. Bill who lives in Newburyport has played a leadership role in that project serving for a number of years as the volunteer President of that organization and along with others from those communities who have similar interests have moved trail development in that area from the planning stage into the reality of having actual trails and programs to support those trails in place. On Sunday, May 23, 2010 that coalition of trail proponents will celebrate a wonderful achievement for the lower Merrimack Valley and all of Essex County when The City of Newburyport and the Town of Salisbury will celebrate the grand opening of The Clipper City Rail Trail in Newburyport and the Old Eastern Marsh Trail in Salisbury.

If you are a fan of these kinds of recreational assets that are so important to the continuing development of the quality of life in this region plan to attend the ribbon cutting on May 23, 2010 and take part in celebrations planned in those two communities. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony that day at 1:00 pm at the waterfront junction of the Clipper City Rail Trail and the Harborwalk in Newburyport. Come celebrate this achievement with the sponsors of this event, Essex Heritage, Institution for Savings, The Newburyport Bank, and the Provident Bank as food, art, music and celebration will be offered that day from noon until 4:00 pm.

North Shore Community College Helps Sponsors Economic Summit

On Wednesday of this week, The North Shore Community College and other regional organizations will be sponsoring an economic summit at the Crowne Plaza in Danvers. The headline speaker at the Northeast Regional Economic Summit will beLt Governor Tim Murray. We certainly expect that several issues of regional importance will be addressed at the summit, and Annie Harris and I will both represent Essex Heritage at the seminar. Lt Governor Murray as a former municipal leader himself always provides a community perspective to regional issues. In the BLOG posting in this space on Friday, April 30, 2010, I will provide a recap of the issues addressed and the solutions offered at this regional event.

Annual Fund Update

In the recent past on this BLOG, I have provided information about the annual fund efforts of Essex Heritage as our fiscal year comes to a close. The contributions that we have received to date are most appreciated, and the commitment of the businesses and the many individuals who have contributed to this effort will go a long way to assuring the continuation of our work in this region. In just the last couple of days, major contributions have been received from Eastern Bank, TD Bank, my former employer Salem Five, Shetland Properties, John Walsh Insurance Agency, Danversbank and MacLean, Holloway, Doherty, Ardiff and Morse. The commitment that these companies have made are most valuable to Essex Heritage as we continue to provide programs that help preserve and promote the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County. For any businesses or resident of this region who might feel that a contribution to the Essex Heritage Annual Fund would help us continue to carry out our mission, it is not too late to make a contribution. Information on the Essex Heritage Annual Fund can be found at www.essexheritage.org.

Whittier Bridge Update

From time to time, we have attempted to provide information and updates on the planning process that will ultimately focus on the plans to replace the Whittier Bridge that spans the Merrimack River in Newburyport. Tonight at the auditorium in the Newburyport City Hall from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm, officials from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will hold an informational meeting to outline the work on the $3 Billion dollar bridge and the adjacent roadways improvements. The primary purpose of the meeting is to present an analysis of the process that will be used to evaluate river crossing alternatives. Essex Heritage has a continuing interest in seeing that one of those river crossing alternatives allows for pedestrian and bicycle crossing capacity on the new bridge to help accommodate the Border to Boston project being championed by Essex heritage. If any of you also support the inclusion of a bicycle and pedestrian passage over the bridge this will be a meeting where those ides can be advanced.

Essex Heritage Administrative Assistant Visits Iceland

Emily Levin from the Essex Heritage office along with three of her friends recently spent four days in Iceland on a spring vacation trip. Little did she know that during her stay an up to then dormant volcano in that country would pick that time to erupt? The incident that caused worldwide chaos in international airline schedules hardly caused a “blip” in Emily’s tourist activities. The cloud and the ash from the erupting volcano while wrecking havoc with east to west airline travel was blowing away from most of what Emily and her friends were planning to do and see. It was a bit colder than she was expecting, but what can you expect when you visit ICElland She enjoyed her stay in Iceland and labeled it a wonderfully scenic country and flew home to Boston just before the wind shifted and began to cause problems for the island and its activities. She will always be able to say that she was “on the ground:” when one of the most talked about and disruptive events of this current century played iteslf out in Iceland.

Lymphoma Walk in Salem…A Personal Cause

This Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 10:00 am at the Salem Willows Park hundreds of survivors and families have organized the second annual walk a thon to help cure Lymphoma. The 5k walk will support the efforts to find a cure for this most common form of blood cancer. About a year ago, my wife was diagnosed with this disease and was treated successfully at Mass General Hospital in both Boston and Salem. We are sorry that we learned of this effort so late and have another commitment that day. We will have to save our walking efforts for the North Shore Medical Center Cancer Walk on Fathers Day in June at the same location. If you have an interest in this walk more information can be found at www.lymphomathon.org and click on the link to the Massachusetts chapter.

As always we value your comments, questions and observations about the work of Essex Heritage. Please contact me with your thoughts or any questions you may have at www.essexheritage.org. We are always striving to make Essex Heritage work as effectively as possible and your input and suggestions are always welcome. We can always provide more information and better communication, and one of the goals of these postings on Essex happenings is to provide that opportunity. Thanks You. Tom Leonard

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