Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Public Awareness Campaign, NBCVB Victory, Annual Meeting, ENHC Web Site Update, and Local Community Effort


Smart, Green and Working Campaign

In the last couple of postings to the Essex happenings BLOG, I have devoted a fair amount of space to the public awareness campaign that Essex Heritage has undertaken to help bring attention to a current need. I certainly do not want to be guilty of providing too much emphasis on any one Essex Heritage issue in this space, but since this campaign is so critical and of such short duration I thought that I would add one more thought to this effort. In the last couple of days we have electronically sent information to our many partners and friends in this region asking for their cooperation and support to help with this campaign. This update offered today is provided in the event that one of our friends in the region did not receive our recent call to action. Please review the options that are presented below and consider how you might help Essex Heritage NOW.

Let's Send a Message to Congress ... The Essex National Heritage Area is important!

We are asking partners and friends to help ensure that the Essex National Heritage Area is here for you next year, and the years to follow. Join with us in sending a message to Congress that now is not the time to cut back on programs that not only save America's heritage but save America's jobs!

Take Action. Become an advocate to protect, enhance, and enjoy your Heritage Area in one or more of the following forms:

Action Option 1: TAKE A PICTURE! Go to your favorite Heritage Area location and take a picture of you (or a group!!) holding up a sign of choice. Email your photo to Emily Levin at emilyl@essexherittage.org by May 30. Photos will be uploaded into a digital picture frame and sent to your U.S. Representatives! For a series of downloadable sign to choose from, contact Emily Levin at emilyl@essexheritage.org. .

Action Option 2: WRITE A LETTER!

Write a letter that describes how Essex Heritage has impacted you, your organization or your community! Has Essex Heritage provided your organization or community with a grant; provided training; helped build new audience or members; offered advice; brought media attention to your organization or shared marketing opportunities? Now is the time to tell someone! All of the letters will be compiled, bound and sent to every U.S. Representative from this great state. Email your letter to maryw@essexheritage.org by May 30. If any of you want to view a sample letter please contact Mary Williamson at the address shown above. .

Action Option 3: SPREAD THE WORD!

Spread the word and forward this e-mail to friends, and follow our campaign progress on facebook. The more people who know the facts about the impact of preservation the better!

Congratulations to the North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau

We have learned over the weekend that the leadership of the North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau has been successful in convincing our local elected officials on Beacon Hill of the importance of reopening the Maria Miles Visitor Center on Route 95 in Salisbury. This effort to see this important resource reopen has been broad based and regionally inspired, but the vast majority of the work to accomplish this important task was done by the leadership of NBCVB. Current President Bill Piercey of Chase and Lunt Insurance Co. in Newburyport and Julie McConchie, the Executive Director of NBCVB are to be congratulated for both their perseverance and their success in gaining the needed support to assure the reopening. It is expected that the Visitor Center may be at least partially open again by this Memorial Day to welcome visitors from the north to our region. The Salisbury center that is a part of the regional network of Visitor Centers maintained by Essex Heritage is a critical piece of the chain of information providers to visitors to this region. In addition, the timing could not be better as the summer tourist season swings into full gear starting at the end of the May with the Memorial Day holiday.

Essex Heritage to Conduct Annual Meeting on May 20, 2010

Somewhat lost in the excitement of the third annual Heritage Hero Awards dinner this Thursday evening in Salisbury, is the scheduled annual meeting of Essex Heritage on the same day at the same location. Earlier that afternoon at 4:00 pm at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury, Essex Heritage will conduct one of its two meetings that are open to the general public. The meeting agenda for this event includes the announcement of this year's Essex Heritage Partnership Grant recipients, the election of several new Commissioners, and updates by Executive Director Annie C. Harris, President Kevin Tierney of Saugus Bank, Treasurer John Meserve of Merrimac Savings Bank and other Commission staff. Information on some of the current active Essex Heritage projects will be presented

Town of Ipswich to Preserve 250 Acres

I recently read that 250 acres of Maplecroft farm along Route 133 in Ipswich have been permanently protected by the Raymond Family who own the farm through an agreement with the Trust for Public Land. The acquisition of the land was the result of a cooperative arrangement with to Town of Ipswich, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and private funds raised through a local campaign that provided $5.1 million for the land acquisition. This is a valuable preservation effort by a community that truly values preservation and should be applauded. The protected apace will allow public access to the farm along a trail maintained by the Essex County Trail Association. Surface water, salt marsh and drinking water along with recreation facilities at Raymond Fields will also be protected into the future. This acquisition of this important piece of land will go a long way to continue the efforts of that Town of Ipswich to protect its and the region’s heritage.

Updated Essex Heritage Web Site

Essex Heritage uses many avenues to provide communication to this region. We provide access through many electronic methods, including an Electronic Newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and this BLOG, but clearly one of the most important vehicles we use is the Essex Heritage web site. The site is constantly being updated and in the just recent past the site has been revamped to make the access and use of the site much more efficient. Take a look at the web site at www.essexheritage.org. There is much information to be found on the site, and it is a wonderful way to keep in touch with the work being done by Essex Heritage to expand our mission.

New Playground to be Built in Salem

I know that the building of a new playground in one of the communities in this region doesn’t normally warrant a mention in this regional report, but when it happens where I grew up, it is worth a mention. A concerned group of residents of the Salem Common area have raised over $40,000 in private funds that have been matched by a $50,000 commitment from the City to construct a new playground that will meet safety standards and be accessible to children with disabilities. The work to construct the new playground will be undertaken by volunteers in Salem next weekend, and we congratulate the group and wish them well as they complete the assembly stage of the project. My admiration for the group of volunteers is enhanced by the fact that in my youth that was where late in the 1940’s and early 1950’s, I first learned to work together with others, but more importantly, this was the site where my dad and mom, Tom and Frances Leonard served for many years as the volunteer leaders of the playground association of volunteers that preceded the present group who have accomplished so much in 2010.

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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