Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Essex Happenings August 30 2011

Essex Happenings Corrections

In the last posting I noted three subjects for review and never added information on those issues. In this posting, I corrected that mistake and provided information about the House of Seven Gables, Commercial Real Estate in Salem, and the Topsfield Fair in this posting.

Essex Heritage Trails and SAILS weekends to be offered at the end of this month.

Two weekends of FREE Exploration of this regions sensational resources will be offered by Essex Heritage on the last two weekends in September
It is certainly not too early for you to plan your journey and to learn of the special features of this tenth anniversary event. VISIT www.essexheritage.org for more information and become a member of Essex Heritage and receive a free brochure to help your planning. The following information can be found on the web site as well, but is printed here for your advance planning

Join ENHC for the 10th anniversary of TRAILS & SAILS: Two Weekend of Walks & Water! The Essex National Heritage Commission and our partners have organized the LARGEST EVER collection of unique and exciting experiences throughout Essex County, Mass. to celebrate.

Celebrate with us! We’ve created a Passport to TRAILS & SAILS. Bring your Passport as you explore the Heritage Area through unique events that will expose you to the area’s cultural, historic and natural resources. Using your Passport, we challenge you to attend 10 or more events. (Passports are available in the printed guide and online once you log in). Find out more about the Passport to TRAILS & SAILS.
Get Started: Use the printed guide or online event listing to plot your course to adventure!
Log in: Logging in will allow you to:

1. Create your own customized itinerary to bookmark your favorite events.
2. Receive email notifications if there is a change to an event on your itinerary.
3. Make a reservation for events marked "Reservations Required." (Reservations will be available on September 9 at 9AM.)
4. Download and print your Passport to TRAILS & SAILS.
Search the online event listing to plan your weekend of FREE adventures and view the most up to date event information. Search TRAILS & SAILS events by date, time, community, event title or description. 

On-the-go? Use your mobile device to access the TRAILS & SAILS mobile website, event listing and your itinerary.
VISIT TD Bank and Eastern Bank locations in Essex County to pick up a brochure. Before you go, we recommend that you call ahead to check hours and to confirm that guides are still available. Purchase a guide online and it will be mailed directly to you.
• Essex Heritage Members will receive a printed guide in the mail in September. Become a member!
A limited number of printed guides will be available at no cost at Essex National Heritage Area Regional Visitor Centers

Main Street in Peabody Corridor Presentation Provides Room for Discussion.

The city of Peabody held a public meeting this past week to provide an update on the Main Street Realignment Program that will suggest changes in design of the Main Street project from Peabody Square to Howley Street. The planned improvements will include considerations for pedestrian safety as well as general streetscape improvements. To help correct these deficiencies, this project will also address the level of traffic in this corridor and will present alternatives to correct these issues. One of the primary recommendations called for a reduction in the number of travel lanes, and the issue seemed to be the most controversial. The many alternatives that were presented to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety certainly raised a number of concerns by the numerous Peabody residents who attended the presentation. I am certain that over the next several weeks even more information will be provided and the public will have ample opportunities to offer observations on the plan. Since the initial public hearing there has been some observations that the plan does not go far enough, as the plan should consider reviewing traffic issues from Peabody Square all the way to Salem, at the intersection of Boston and Bridge Street.

The City of Peabody is also awaiting final plans on the design of culverts that will be installed in the future in the square area to mitigate the recurring flooding that from time to time inundates the Peabody square area. That project also has Salem ramifications and hopefully and before the plan is finalized, the two communities will meet to discuss common issues. The hurricane we are anticipating that will strike this area on the weekend could prove to be a difficult one relative to downtown flooding.

Commercial Real Estate Market in Downtown Salem Continues to be Active

It certainly appears that the commercial real estate market in the City of Salem is alive and well. In recent days almost every property that comes on the market gets purchased pretty quickly. With all of the positive developments in Salem’s downtown with the new courthouse initiatives and the changes that are being made almost daily on the waterfront, plus the impact that Salem State University has had on the city is at least partially responsible for the recent increase in activity.

The most recent transaction focused on the sale of the Eastern Bank building on Washington Street. The information on that transaction is incomplet and it is not clear if the branch of Eastern Bank will remain open or will close. The branch that was originally opened almost 200 years ago in the downtown as the Salem Savings Bank has been a integral part of the Salem financial scene. When I began a banking career at Salem Five in 1961 at least for those last 50 years that bank has been a force in the downtown of the City of Salem. I know that Eastern Bank has several other banking locations in the city, but not having them in the downtown would be a los Lets hope that the bank keeps that branch active and two century tradition continues uninterrupted.

Several Local Communities in the Region Considering Changes in Trash Collection

Several local communities are now considering plans that might substantially impact rubbish collection programs. The focus of the new thinking is to “Pay as you Throw”. This process will hopefully move more household trash opportunities to generate more recycling and reduce the costs of household rubbish collection, thus the costs to the local community. One of my sons who lives in a western suburb, participates in a program like the one outlined here, and in his community the program seems to work reasonably well.

Topsfield Fair Opening Just a Month away

One of the traditional and most well attended regional events, the Topsfield Fair is about to begin again. The 113th edition of the oldest agricultural fairs in the country will open on September 30, 2011 and will run through the Columbus Day holiday weekend. As the event gets closer we will provide additional information that annually draws thousand of residents from this area to both a wonderful celebration of the agricultural heritage of this region and entertainment for all.


The house of SEVEN gables in Salem will hold a fundraising event and award presentation at their Turner Street location. The event will be used to raise funds to support their various charitable endeavors. There will be an auction and refreshments served plus an annual prestigious award will be announced. For more information or to purchase tickets for the event contact the House of Seven Gables at www. 7.gables.org

Food Pantry Needs

I am certain that there are needs at every food pantry in the region, but it is very clear that due the unusual homeless situation in Danvers it has extreme ramifications. Any financial or food contributions to the People to People Food Pantry in Danvers would be both much needed and appreciated.

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