Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Essex Happenings November 8. 2011


Possible Peabody Bike Path Extension

The City of Peabody provided a recent announcement that they are considering an expansion that could have a most positive impact on recreational assets in this region. The city has made it known that it is investigation the possibility of turning an abandoned portion of the MBTA’s Newburyport rail line into a extension of their current rail trail. Peabody’s outgoing Mayor Michael Bonfanti has sent a letter to the MBTA asking that board if they would consider allowing the Leather City to lease a 2.8 mile of abandoned rail lines with the expectation that the City could then expand its most successful recreational bike path to connect its present very busy rail trail to the recently completed trail in Danvers. The new section of the proposed Peabody Trail would open a link from the Lynnfield town line near Winona Pond to the Danvers project near the Walmart retail complex on Route 114. The current rail trail in Peabody covers 4.4 miles and one can presently ride from the Middleton Town Line to the Leahy Clinic building at the North Shore Shopping Center. The recently completed Danvers trail is 4.3 miles long and is a part of the Border to Boston project that would allow travel by bike from Danvers north through several communities to Newburyport and Salisbury. The MBTA has approved the lease request and the next step for the city is to bring the proposal to the Peabody City Council for approval. Prior to the presentation to the council the City Planning Department will walk the proposed trail to ascertain the impact of a bike trail to the abutting neighborhoods and to determine what impediments might need to be overcome. Over the last several years the city of Peabody has been as successful as any community in the region in the development of recreational trails. If this new piece of the trail were to be completed, it would bring the recreational trails in that city to just over 7 miles of paved trail and would allow a potential connection to several additional communities all the way to the New Hampshire border. The leadership of the city of Peabody should be justifiably proud of their achievements in this area of recreational assets. I have had the good fortune to ride the Peabody trail as part of an adaptive sports program offered by Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and was impressed with the asset, the maintenance and conditions that I found when I used the trail. There are still many steps still to be taken before this project could be completed, but the forward thinking of the leadership of the City of Peabody should be applauded for their initiative in the creation of recreational assets for the residents of that community. Essex Heritage has always focused many of their strategic initiatives on the development of assets that improve the quality of life in this region. These kinds of projects certainly advance those initiatives.

I recently received the following notice from the North Shore Elder Services Director and wanted to pass the information on to all of you.

Peabody Council on Aging to Offer Open House

The Peabody Council on Aging is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Torigian Community Life Center with an open house on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. All are invited. If you have never been to the Peabody Council on Aging facility, it is worth visiting to see the size and scope of that operation.

Town Manager Vacancies in Region

For one of the first times in recent history, there will soon be two important vacancies in Town leadership in this region. In just the last couple of days, Ipswich Town Manager, Bob Markel announced that he would leave his post on January 1, 2012 in Ipswich as he is under consideration for a new head community leadership position in another community. Earlier this year, Andrew Naylor, the Town Manager of Swampscott was hired as the new Town Manager in Andover and his position will now need to be replaced by the Board of Selectmen in that seaside community. Those two changes have created two vacancies that will have to be filled very soon, and will be difficult posts to fill and will certainly change the mix of community leadership in this region. We will watch the development in this scenario closely in the future, as the current group of leaders in this region all recognize the need to work together and the two new “players” in the region will want to participate in these collaborative initiatives going forward going forward. Earlier in this posting, I indicated that Essex Heritage has had the development of Quality of Life issues as a primary objective, but clearly, above all else, the desire to see communities working together rather than independently is a most important component of our programs. Collaborative thinking and collective activities can be a key to success in the future of this region. It has always been clear in my mind, that communities working together can accomplish more tasks accomplished at lower costs and more efficiently than ever can be done working independently.

Endicott College to Add New Trustees

Over the many years that Essex Heritage has been in existence one of our most valued education partners has been Endicott College. They have hosted a number of events and meetings we have organized at the fabulous facilities at the college. The partnership has also included a relationship established as part of Trails and Sails. A recent announcement from the college indicated the appointment of two new Trustees. John E Kavanaugh lll of Kavanaugh Advisors and Cynthia Merkle a Senior Vice President at Eastern Bank and a graduate of the college have been named Trustees. I do not know Mr. Kavanaugh, personally but know of the work of that family and their impact in the region. I know Cindy Merkle quite well having worked on several projects with her when I was also a local banker. She will be a wonderful Trustee and continues the tradition of Eastern Bank as they serve so many organizations in this region including several board members who serve Essex Heritage. Congratulations to both of the new Trustees and continuing good luck to our good partner, Endicott College.

Another Goal Accomplished

Another hurtle jumped. Earlier this week, I went to Lydon's Aquatic Center in Danvers, where Paul Lydon who taught my two sons to swim 40 years ago is now teaching me to swim with my one good leg. I got in and out of the pool without issue and swam a bit. I am going to continue to take some lessons to be ready to swim next year. It was a bit scary at first, but like every obstacle I have jumped over, the anticipation of the challenge is worse than the task itself. Lydon’s Aquatic Center in Danvers is a great place to learn to swim whether you are handicapped or not.

Bruins and Patriots

This upcoming weekend will showcased important games for the two teams noted above. The Bruins put forth a solid effort last time out and on Saturday they headed to Toronto and did put up another good and winning effort But on Sunday the Patriots did not fare as well against the New York Giants. This rime the defense played better until the very end, but could not come up with a win, the game next week against the other New York NFL entry will be most important, After two bad losses in a row they clearly must find a way to win next week to stay in the AFC race.

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