Monday, July 19, 2010

Friendship and the Navy, Salem State Seminar, Tourism in Essex County, Beverly Group Looking at CPA


National Park Service Friendship and the USS Constitution

One day last week, the National Park Service’s replica sailing ship, Friendship spent a day in Boston’s famous harbor completing a training mission. This time the cadre of dedicated Friendship volunteers were not completing traditional training that takes place all year, but were on a labor of love. The training team from Friendship was imparting their knowledge to a couple of dozen members from the crew of the United States Navy Ship Constitution. Constitution is the two centuries old ship known as Old Ironsides that distinguished itself during the historic war of 1812. Soon the oldest commissioned ship in the Navy will sail again in the summer of 2012 to help commemorate her exploits 200 year ago. The current training exercise is designed to give the crew of the Navy ship a hands on experience on Friendship that can be replicated by the Navy crew next summer when Old ironsides will once again set sail as she did two centuries ago. On several occasions in the life of Friendship, the National Park Service’s replica has had the benefit of support from the Navy as repairs were done on the Friendship by Navy workers in the Navy Yard in Boston so this a great way to pay back the Navy for prior services.

While this was a mission designed to teach United States Navy sailors how to haul sails and handle lines on a sailing ship at sea, this was a great opportunity for the crew of Friendship to polish their skills before the inaugural sails with paying clients over Labor Day weekend 2010. At that time Friendship will make a trip under sail from Salem to Gloucester with a group of North Shore Rotarians, and then on the following day will head out into Gloucester harbor to observe the annual schooner races. Essex Heritage is currently taking orders for spots on those two trips moderately priced at $185 per person and additional information on how you can participate contact Mary Williamson as 978 740 0444 or visit the Essex Heritage web site at All of the proceeds after expenses from this historic weekend of first ever sails will be used to extend the mission of Essex Heritage that focuses on the preservation and promotion of the historic, cultural and natural resources of Essex County.

Salem State’s Enterprise Center to Offer Seminar for Business Owners

Essex Heritage has since its existence had a special relationship with the State College in Salem. Several of the professionals who serve the college have been Trustees and Commissions of Essex Heritage who offer their continuing support to our efforts. At the present time, Dr. Patricia Meservey serves on the Essex Heritage Board of Trustees and Dr, Brewer Doran the Dean of the Bertalon School of Business, Bill Luster the Executive Director of the North Shore Alliance managed by the college and Christine Sullivan who serves as the chief Executive of the Enterprise Center all serve as Commissioners

The College’s Enterprise Center and the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development are co-sponsoring a seminar at the college on July 22, 2010 that may be of great interest to investors and entrepreneurs. The event that is scheduled to be held from 7; 15 10; 30 a.m. at the college and will begin with a breakfast. For mare information on the program that will feature presentation that will help you “Pitch you Company to Investors and Lenders” and to register contact the Bill Luster at the North Shore Alliance for Economic Development at

Speaking of Salem State

I know it may be bad luck to call Salem State College a University before the Governor signs the bill to make this happen, but it does appear to be imminent. The State Senate recently followed the lead of the Massachusetts House and approved the bill, so all the remains is the final approval by Governor Patrick and that could happen any day now.

Tourism Activities on the North Shore Gets a Boost

There have been several positive actions relative to the Hospitality and tourism industry in this region in the last few days. First of all the North of Boston Convention and Visitor Bureau (NBCVB) has developed a new business plan that will allow them to continues to be a force in tourism in area also served by Essex Heritage. The NBCVB has relocated to new office space in Newburyport and at the same time ha announced that the Maria Miles Visitor Center on Route 95 in Salisbury has reopened to serve visitors to this region. That is very good news as the center is the primary center to serve visitors to this region who arrive here from our neiigboring Sates to the north and eastern Canada. The Center was reopened after long-term negotiations with the States Department of Transportation that will help with maintenance the facility. We also saw a recent note, that three small cruise ships are planning to stop at the new ferry terminal in Salem between now and early September for short stays. That business should be a boon to Salem merchants from the waterfront to the downtown.

We have also seen some recent numbers that show that tourism in the region is most definitely up. The National Park Service who we partner with on so many initiatives shows attendance at their regional Visitor Center in Salem up over 15% from May of last year to May of 2010. That is good news as more visitors to the region means more money spent in the region, new jobs being created, and additional taxes being paid to both the Commonwealth and local communities. The recent increase in the Hotel/Motel and meals taxes enacted by many local communities may prove to be a great timing for municipal budgets, as more visitors certainly will result in more local taxes based on those two recent actions.

The final issue relates to news from Salem State. That institution waiting for the news of their elevation to University status recently announced that this fall due to the increases in activity in the Hospitality and Tourism industries that they will offer the first of its kind in this region Graduate Certificate program in Hospitality and tourism. That is certainly a statement that the tourism industry is a most important element of the economy of Essex County, bur we knew that fact all along

Group in Beverly Advocating for the Adoption of CPA

It appears that there may be a group of activists in the City of Beverly that is considering advocating that the City consider adopting the Community Preservation Act. The group is investigating the possibility of seeking a one percent tax that could be used with the corresponding State allocation of funds that would used in preservation, open space acquisition and affordable housing initiatives. The City of Beverly rejected an attempt for the adoption of a 3 % tax a decade ago, but the timing now might be better and the tax has been modified. This effort is in the exploratory stage, and it could take several years to build community support that is essential, but if adopted the City of Beverly would join approximately fifty percent of the communities in Essex County that utilize this process. Many of the communities that have adopted this initiative have used the funds most effectively to enhance community opportunities.

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. Thank You. Tom Leonard

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