Architecture as art and muse
Architecture as art and muse
Harbor dredging clean up continues
COYOTE FORUM SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 2nd FROM 7 TO 9PM
Our city continues to discuss coyote conflicts with state partners, including Mass Environmental Police, Mass Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, and the Governor’s office, with direct conversations with the Lieutenant Governor. In addition to the on-going research by ad-hoc groups, our newly formed Animal Advisory Board will provide new insights (we need new members on this board, so please consider applying). Lastly, we are setting up a meeting tentative for Thursday, Feb 2nd from 7PM to 9PM at City Hall to host another informal coyote forum with information from state environmental partners, animal control, and time for questions and answers, too. We will continue to press our state leaders for safe and swift solutions and additional police and animal patrols remain on alert across Gloucester. Please see the link from Mass.gov on helpful tips and resolving conflicts (which includes law stating, “Coyotes taking pets are not considered an immediate threat to human safety, therefore ACO’s and municipal police departments are not authorized to remove these wild animals.”) We will provide more updates as they develop. Thank you.
“No finer place for sure, downtown.”
Seeing double? Yes, you’re supposed to. The Sawyer Free Library addition was designed to mirror Cape Ann Museum as a balanced and nuanced architectural symmetry in deference to City Hall, and catalyst for a graceful center.
Sawyer Free Library has announced a public meeting January 11th for discussions of a new building. (See the flyer at the end of this post.)
City Hall may have some upcoming construction on the Dale Avenue side as well.
Both projects are largely in the name of accessibility of a physical nature. Can they be cost effective, worthy of our history and culture, protect our significant buildings, and address current and future needs? The following are some of the issues, local coverage, links to resources, and archival material for your interest.
Although there are several new handicap parking spaces along Dale Avenue by City Hall, carving out the landscape on the left for more spots is in the cards because of grant money. Why? Several people told me that Dale Avenue parking spaces are hazardous for anyone exiting on the street. Although I do not want to minimize any pressing needs, I still ask, “Really?” Have we become so car dependent we would rather a thoroughfare here than the elegant streetscape we have (once a tree lined walk from the train station.) I was also told that it will increase visitation counts. It is an unfair advantage that historic sites with access to more funding (Monticello, Smithsonian, Colonial Williamsburg, and more) are better equipped to face these seemingly no-win situations. But there are creative retrofitting options for Gloucester, too. Universal design is about balance, not chasing funding sources at the expense of preservation and beauty, nor backwards planning.
Before the current 2015-16 library outreach, the library hosted extensive visioning sessions throughout 2013. I went to a couple, and I was invited to take part in a focus group (on schools and the library.) A completely new library and jettisoning of the historic Saunders library building was not an expressed community value. What were some common discussion points? A strategy for digitization of historic archives and newspapers, more staff, more hours of operation (Sundays), better bathrooms, parking issues, air conditioning, electrical work, maintenance, security, maximizing technology/ content access with schools, ditto Cape Ann TV, and attendance (see this great video from Lisa Smith by kids for kids ) were some goals that were mentioned.
So it was a surprise to see the unveiling of new architectural renderings that did not showcase the Saunders house. It’s like the White House not featuring the White House. I think the Saunders house should be key and central to any building overhaul, not tossed aside. Providing universal access should preserve the intended awe factors if there are any, FOR EVERYBODY–such as the architectural details, proportion, welcoming entrance and unique heritage of a historic building. In this proposal, with Saunders severed there is zero physical access to the main event. What a missed opportunity. And for a library. What do you think?
Today’s paper mentioned that the Saunders house could be used for other purposes instead of the library. Why can’t that be the case and the library maintain its #1 asset? The downtown cultural district (which is not going forward in the same capacity) and other organizations could use the library meeting spaces. Do we really need to conjure up another stand alone endeavor?
Back in 1973, the Trustees of the Library began a fund drive for the new library addition; the city of Gloucester paid 2/3. As the Library’s General Chairman, Joe Garland led that campaign. Not surprising, the text of the brochure is a good read! The architect was Donald F. Monnell. (In 1971 Monnell was quoted in the papers speaking about the attributes of Central Grammar. One likes him more and more.) The population served was 27,000–nearly what it is today.
A quip about the concept of Scaling UP that I remember from a conference this past September at Peabody Essex Museum and hosted by Essex National Heritage was to “think about the farm not just a barn”; in this case a downtown, or an entire city and region. I like thinking this way in general–architecture and planning, art, and schools. But this conference pushed me to add overlays beyond my areas of expertise or focus like wildlife and waterways. Gloucester, Cape Ann, Massachusetts–there’s so much! Mayor Romeo Theken is committed to working together and feels that planning is important and broad. One example, see Gloucester Daily Times Dec 19, 2016 Officials: City to Prioritize Its (competing) Needs
Every era has choices. The prior library expansion plans began well before 1972. Possibilities swirled as they do now. (Back then, Central Grammar was also in the news, may or may not have been razed, and possible uses favored senior housing, commercial development, an annex to City Hall, and a courthouse police station.) Today there are competing building needs and uses floated for properties as diverse as: the Cape Ann YMCA on Middle Street, the post office on Dale, the Gloucester Fire Department, police headquarters, St. Ann’s, and the elementary schools–and that’s just to name a few. Let’s celebrate enviable architectural strengths, and not fuss with buildings that should be venerated, unless it’s to help them be accessible and healthy. Let’s get the balance right.
The prohibitive costs of best practice historic preservation (ADA compliant, temperature and humidity controls, security, sustainability, in house scanning/OCR/audio transcription, etc) is impossible for all the worthy collections in town, and pits them as foes when vying for funds. Let’s flip that impediment on its head and make Gloucester a model for the state. Its treasures would be available worldwide if they were truly accessible –digitized.Two words may help accomplish this goal and free up cash for individual operations: shared overhead. It’s one hope I continue to stress–the need to share necessary resources for a state-of-the-art research and warehouse repository. This universal hub should be large enough to encompass any holdings not on view. There could be a smaller downtown central site combined with a larger off site location, such as at Blackburn. The list of sharing institutions could include and is by no means exhaustive: our municipal archives that date back to 1642; Cape Ann Museum; Sawyer Free Library; North Shore Art Association; Beauport; Hammond Castle; the Legion; Amvets and other social clubs; Sargent House; several places of worship; Gloucester Daily Times; Annisquam historical building collections; Lanesville; Magnolia’s historic collections; artists/writers estates; Veterans office; our schools; Isabel Babson Memorial Library, and perhaps businesses such as Cape Pond Ice and Gortons. The library plans don’t appear to retrofit their site(s) for this goal.
If incentives and policy supported neighborhood character over less generic construction
that would be wonderful. It’s not just Gloucester.
Gloucester’s is lovely.
Joseph Lucido, Operations Manger supervises the installation of a new Electric Car Charging Station in front of the City Hall.
In light of the numerous coyote sightings in Gloucester, there will be an informational meeting on January 11, 7pm at Kyrouz Auditorium, City Hall, hosted by the Office of the Mayor, Gloucester Police Department, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and conducted by Div of Fisheries and Wildlife
Speakers: Mayor Sefatia Romeo-Theken and Chief of Police Leonard Campanello.
Guest Speakers: Patricia Huckery, Fisheries & Wildlife N.E. District Manager, Laura Connelley, Fishers & Wildlife Fur Bearing Biologist, and Environmental Police Officers.
The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has put together this document named Living with Wildlife: Suburban Wildlife in Massachusetts for Massachusetts residents.
Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken invites interested residents of Gloucester to join with her and the Committee for the Arts to begin a Public Conversation on the Arts on Thursday, May 14th, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm in the Kyrouz Auditorium at City Hall. The purpose of this facilitated discussion is to solicit ideas on what a public arts policy should look like. The meeting is not about individual projects, works of art, or location but about what should guide the City as it makes decisions on this important subject. “I am committed to carefully and thoughtfully considering issues related to the selection and siting of public art in the City of Gloucester and the upcoming Public Conversation on the Arts will be an invaluable tool,” said Mayor Romeo Theken.
Fisherman Memorial Painting by Paul Frontiero
Halloween Bash at City Hall Last Night!
The Adventures of Scuba Jack and Kids Unlimited hosted the Halloween Party last night at City Hall.
Hundreds of goblins and ghouls had an amazing time being entertained by the haunting tunes of Leo Francis! Also, Charlie the Balloon Man created amazing balloon sculptures for all who attended! Many prizes and treats were given out all evening!!
The Adventures of Scuba Jack
Let them know what you think! Next Tuesday, August 20th, Community Development will host the second of its three public meetings geared towards all thoughts/suggestions for downtown, see the details below:
Downtown Work Plan: Second Public Meeting Tuesday, Aug. 20 at 6:00 PM: The Conversation Continues!
Last month 90 people came out to City Hall to share what they love about downtown Gloucester and what they thought could be improved. It was a great discussion, and we hope you will join us for the second public meeting on the Downtown Work Plan.
Meeting 2 will be held next Tuesday, August 20, 2013, at 6:00 PM in the Kyrouz Auditorium on the second floor of City Hall.
We will provide feedback on the first meeting, share additional information, and get your input on next steps. If you were able to attend the first meeting please spread the word, our goal is to involve as many folks as we can. If you cannot attend, always feel free to email your thoughts and ideas. Tom Daniel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gloucester’s Community Development Department is holding these public meetings to frame future opportunities and develop a set of shared values for downtown. This initiative is an opportunity to take a half-step back, talk with the community, and look at downtown holistically. We are building from past work and integrating on-going economic development efforts with various stakeholders. These combined discussions and efforts will inform the City’s work downtown.
The last public meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 (also at 6:00 PM in the Kyrouz Auditorium).
We DON’T LIVE IN PODUNKVILLE ARKANSAS!!!
WE live in a vibrant active community full of creatives, businesspeople, fishermen, ect, ect, ect.
In my mind THERE’S NO EXCUSE to not have uninterrupted cell service all the way through Main St.
I have Sprint and there was a time when I rarely lost a call but it seems in the past couple months it’s gotten worse.
I believe they are taking comments on what you would like to see happen for downtown.
if you’re like me and think that in the year 2013 we might want to look at getting this shit corrected write in-
City officials will pull common themes from residents’ likes and grievances tonight, then engage in a discussion about those themes and solutions at another meeting Aug. 20, and develop the downtown’s plan for implementing improvements and stepping into the future at a Sept. 17 meeting.
For the life of me I don’t know why they don’t hide a cell service repeater up inside the City Hall Tower like I suggested years ago-
Charge the Cell phone companies rent for the space and provide decent cell service in your most critical area of business –Down-Freakin-Town!