ESSEX HAPPENINGS, FRIDAY JULY 16, 2010
ONE-YEAR AGO TOMMOROW IN 2009, I CREATED THE ESSEX HAPPENINGS BLOG AND OFFERED MY FIRST POSTING ON THAT DAY. IN THE ONE YEAR THAT HAS PASSED SINCE THAT FIRST POST, INCLDING THIS ENTRY, I HAVE POSTED TO THE BLOG NUMEROUS TIMES AND COVERED A MULTITUDE OF LOCAL MAYYERS I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO FROM TIME TO TIME “LOOK IN TO READ” THE BLOG, YOU HAVE RECEIVED SOME VALUABLE INFORMATION AND I WILL CONTINUE TO OFFER MY OBSERVATION FOR ANOTHER YEAR STARTING ON TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2010. I PARTICULARLY VALUE ANY COMMENTS THAT YOU MIGHT WISH TO OFFER, OR ANY OTHER OBSERVATIONS ON THE WORK OF ESSEX HERITAGE. I CAN BE REACHED AT WWW.ESSEXHERITAGE.ORG THANKS FOR YOUR CONTINUING SUPPORT, AND I OFFER MY THANKS TO MY SON MARK LEONARD AND MY GRANDSON BRENDAN LEONARD WHO STRTED ME DOWN THIS PATH.
Essex Heritage Continues to Study Travel Opportunities
Over the past several months, Essex Heritage has intensified its study of travel programs as a revenue generating opportunity for this organization. The region that we serve contains a treasure trove of rich historic sites and a matching group of residents who are interested in exploring those sites. We are examining opportunities to either offer travel programs on our own or with a regional or national partner. Essex Heritage has recently completed an updated strategic plan that calls for the exploration of related income generating sources of revenues to help support the programs of the Commission and travel programs certainly fit that model we have devised. In the months ahead we will continue to examine travel opportunities of all kinds with the expectation that one or several of those opportunities will turn into the program of choice for the future. As we develop ideas, there are dozens of very concerned ‘friends of Essex Heritage” who have offered opinions in the past and it is possible that in time we will ask many of you to comment on these opportunities to learn if you feel as we do that travel programs can be valuable to the region and a source of continuing revenue for Essex Heritage in the future.
Commonwealth Announces 1000 Best Places to Visit in Massachusetts
Earlier this week the Commonwealth released the list of the one thousand favorite places in the State. The final list was chosen from a group of 12,000 nominations for this designation. The list can be found it great detail on www.massvacation.com but we at Essex Heritage were very pleased with the findings and the report. The list reported on one hundred and twenty five spots that made the list in our historic region. Virtually every community in the Essex National Heritage area had a listing or two and some of our more prominent communities had several listings. I will leave it to you to visit the list and review the listings one by one and I am certain that as I did you will find the list most informative. The Cities of Salem and Gloucester led the list with sixteen and fourteen listings respectively, but there were several other communities in the region that were also well represented, Beverly, Ipswich, Lynn, Marblehead, Newburyport and Rockport all had a substantial presence, and in general the county was well served. I noted in a Cape Cod newspaper that one hundred sites were listed in Cape and Island communities and Essex County fared better than that traditionally heavily visited part of the State. In total, the region with its large group of listings in the most favored locations had 12.5% of the total listed in the entire State, and when one considers the large metropolitan regions that had strong listings and presence, Essex County as a region fared quite well.
North Shore Music Theatre Re Opens for Business
It certainly has been a positive step for the region and for the arts experience in the area when the North Shore Music Theatre reopened for business earlier this month. The new ownership has done a remarkable job to bring the theatre back to life and the region is certainly much better off with an operating theatre of that scope back in business. From all we have heard, the opening performances went very well, and the crowds were receptive and welcoming. Essex Heritage certainly wishes the new ownership much success in the future, and has already opened a door to discuss how the two organizations can work together in the future.
City of Newburyport Investigating Maritime Festival Possibility
Several leaders in the Historic City of Newburyport including both a former and present Mayor and a former Redevelopment Authority Director have recently gathered to discuss the possibility of organizing a Maritime Festival on the City’s waterfront. The plan is dependant on the investigation of funding to support the event that would not be just a one-time event, but a recurring program. The group has set a very optimistic schedule as they hope to bring in three of four tall ships to take part in the proposed festival over the 2011 Fourth of July Holiday. The City has a wonderful river front harbor and the adjacent boardwalk and parklands would make a wonderful setting for such an event.
A couple of years ago Essex Heritage and the National Park Service brought the replica sailing ship Friendship into Newburyport for a two day visit sponsored by the local banking institutions and that event was a wonderful success. During the two days that the Friendship was on port, over 10,000 people visited the ship and learned of her mission. And I would suspect that an annual festival could also mirror that success. As plans develop, Essex Heritage might be pleased to play some role in the festival, as it could become a wonderful regional event.
Plum Island Dredging Project Delayed Due to Bidding Issues
The Town of Newbury was recently notified of a very tenuous deadline in connection with the long awaited and anticipated dredging project on Plum Island. As a result of a bid that came in substantially higher than anticipated to complete this important task the Town was advised that they had only two weeks to raise an additional $88,000 in funding. Because of the importance of the project the Town Administrator and the Board of Selectmen have found the extra funding. This effort should now allow the much-needed project to move forward in the near term
Town of Danvers Completes Negotiations with Employee Unions
It was good news for the Town of Danvers and all of its residents to see that once again, Town Manager Wayne Marquis has completed labor negotiations with the municipal unions that serve the Town. Under today’s uncertain labor and economic conditions, it is imperative to have financial certainly and that condition now exists in Danvers. As a member of the Town’s Finance Committee it is always positive to see that the Town Manager, as he has done year after year, has completed that administrative task and kept the Danvers “financial house” in good order.
Friendship Sails Update
In a recent posting I noted that the cost of tickets for the inaugural Friendship sail had been set at $250 per passenger. After recalculating some of the expenses connected with this event it was determined that the ticket price had been set too high. The new and correct price has now been set at $185,00 per person and that price is now reflected on the Essex Heritage web site.
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. Thank You. Tom Leonard