Friday, May 14, 2010

Heritage Area's Campaign, Regionalism Efforts, Preservation Awards, Salem Rotary Scholarships


Essex Heritage “SMART, GREEN AND WORKING” Campaign Taking Shape

Over the next several weeks, Essex Heritage will be developing a local position to support a national campaign by the Alliance of National Heritage Area’s to raise awareness of the value of Essex Heritage to this region. The tag line, “Smart Green and Working” will be used extensively to bring attention to the work of Essex Heritage and its mission to promote and preserve the historic, cultural and natural resources of this region. The national campaign will include a rally and a press conference in the Nation’s Capital on June 15th where the value of the 49 Heritage Areas’s covering 32 states in this country will be outlined. At the local level, Essex Heritage will soon be sending an appeal to our many participating partners in this region asking for their support and endorsement. The appeal will seek letters of support from participating partners in the region that will point out the value of this regional effort that preserves the regions heritage, enhances economic opportunities and assists in the creation of jobs connected to tourism and preservation efforts in the Essex County region. In addition to the written support we will also be seeking photographs of the wonderful resources in this region with signage that will indicate support of Essex Heritage as we work collectively with our partners to enhance the preservation of the assets so important to this area. Electronic signage links for the campaign will accompany the material we sent out to our partners, so that they will be readily available for the photographs. It will be our intention to send these letters and photographs that will endorse our work to our elected officials who represent us in Washington DC, to point out how important it is that continued funding for these efforts is made available. You may also see representatives of Essex Heritage at regional events over the next several weeks where we will gather supporters for a photo in front of regional treasures with signs outlining our “tag line” supporting this effort. We are particularly indebted to one of our most enthusiastic Trustees, Rich Yagjian of Hunts Photo and Video in Melrose for the technical support that “Hunt’s” are providing in this campaign. If you are one of our committed partners or one of our Trustees or Commissioners please look for material that will be sent to you in the next several days that will outline the plans for this effort. We value the support that we have received over the last decade and hope that our partners will now rally to help bring attention to the work being accomplished in this region.

Patrick/Murray Administration Continues Focus on Regional Efforts

Since the earliest days of Essex Heritage’s existence we have been a strong and vocal advocate for regional participation. The concept that the Commission was based on from the outset was that there was certainly greater strength and a higher chance of success if this region worked collectively together, rather than trying to accomplish tasks individually. Over the years we have organized several collaborative efforts that have brought communities and regional partners together for the good of the region. We will continue to be an advocate for this kind of participation and will do all in our power to continue to be a regional coalescing force whenever opportunities are presented where our influence can be helpful. Our recent work on the Border to Boston Rail Trail, Essex Heritage Scenic Byway and the educational initiatives unified under the LINC’s banner plus our signature event, Trails and Sails are wonderful examples of what can be accomplished when disparate communities and partners come together to accomplish a regional project that benefits many.

In light of the Essex Heritage stance on these issues, it was most positive to read of the recent report that was issued by the Patrick/Murray Administration’s Regional Advisory Commission that is chaired by Lt. Governor Timothy Murray that calls for even more regional participation in the future. The Patrick/Murray Administration has made regionalization a strong priority of theirs since taking office. The Lt. Governor as a former big city Mayor sees both sides of the regionalization issue, and can see why local communities want to preserve their local “hometown” image, but can readily see the benefits of putting those thoughts aside in favor of developing regional initiatives. The report that was issued late last month by Lt, Governor Murray on behalf of the State’s leadership team calls for putting aside local parochial interests in favor of building regional partnerships that will benefit communities with common issues when it comes to saving money or performing more efficiently. . The Commission headed by the Lt. Governor is planning a series of regional hearings as 2010 progresses where these issues can be explored and a strategy developed to take even greater advantage of regional participation. There are obviously hurdles that will have to be cleared as municipal unions will likely resist change as local jobs might be impacted, but hopefully the leadership of these organizations can be shown the long- term benefit to the community where they live and to the region in general. Essex Heritage remains one of the only organizations that has a wide regional focus in the area north of Boston, stretching from Saugus and Lynnfield in the south to Methuen and Merrimack in the north and stands ready to assist in what ever forum is contemplated to study these important regional issues.

Essex Heritage Associates Receive Important Preservation Award

Congratulations to four members of the Essex Heritage “family’ who received well deserved awards at the 25th annual Profiles in Preservation Awards at a recent ceremony in Boston. The recipients who were all most deserving included our Executive Director, Annie C. Harris, ENHC Trustee Paul McGinley a preservation architect from Ipswich, and Commissioners Brona Simon the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Historical Commission and Martin Krugman of the Schooner Adventure in Gloucester. The awards were presented in memory of the late US Senator Paul Tsongas of Lowell. We are most proud of their recognition and applaud the recipient’s commitment to the preservation effort in this region and beyond.

Salem Rotary Scholarship Committee Meets

I feel most privileged to have had a recent opportunity to join with a dozen of my associates from the Salem Rotary Club to interview and then select a number of young men and women who are finishing their senior year at area high schools for scholarship awards. The young people we interviewed recently are all residents of Salem but attend several area schools including Salem High School, Salem Academy, Bishop Fenwick High School, and St, John’s Preparatory School... The experience was a most positive one, as it provides me the opportunity to meet some of the future leaders of this region. All of the recipients of the Salem Rotary scholarships that will be announced at a later date were all most positive young people with a positive outlook on life in general and how their efforts will impact the region in the future. It was most pleasant to spend a recent afternoon meeting with them, sharing their hopes and aspirations for the future with my fellow Salem Rotarians.

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 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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