Tag Archives: City Hall

Musician Carlos Menezes- one of world’s greatest middle school band teachers!

O’Maley bands and choruses killing it. Great job Gloucester!

And no wonder. Listen to this teacher and share: Carlos Menezes delivers an awesome introduction inspired by his students and the extraordinary Charles Allan Winter WPA-era mural at City Hall.

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Packed and happy house

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LIVE at City Hall: GEF Gloucester Arts Festival

Listen to sweet voices from Veterans school chorus, “Imagine”.

 

Gloucester High School chorus

 

More theater, bands and chorus coming up!

Kurt Lichtenwald and GHS robotics presented at 1pm. GHS has 11  engineering courses — teaching to the top! Showing us Propane furnaces, LADAR, magnetic Newton’s cradle (no sound), a hovercraft that can carry 60 pounds… Design. Build. Modify. (More than one kid behind me said “I can’t wait to go to high school.”) Displayed art by O’Maley Middle school artists throughout City Hall, Cape Ann Museum and Sawyer Free.

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Woodwork display is amazing!

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SKY DRAMA OVER GLOUCESTER HARBOR

Layers of of fast moving April storm clouds swirling over the Harbor last night.

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Smith’s Cove Rocky Neck

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Trailblazers and Scenes from Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary Gala at Peabody Essex Museum

Secretary John Kerry reconnected with Mayor Romeo-Theken before he took to the podium to address more than 300 guests attending the Essex National Heritage 20th Anniversary gala at the Peabody Essex Museum. They go way back. Essex National Heritage was designated in 1996 with key support from John Kerry and Ted Kennedy.

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20th Anniversay Gala at Peabody Essex Museum L-R: Mayor Romeo-Theken, Gloucester; Secretary John Kerry; Annie Harris CEO Essex National Heritage

Here’s a star, Emily Levin from Essex National Heritage. Everyone who hosts programs over Essex National Heritage fabulous annual Trails & Sails enjoys working with Emily.

The temporary Essex National Heritage illumination is projected above the Halo sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

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Emily Levin, Essex National Heritage (20th Anniversary Gala Peabody Essex museum)

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ANNOUNCING THE TRAILBLAZERS

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4000 votes helped select a few Trailblazer nominees for a special champagne toast representing their mission and all the wonderful cultural resources across 34 towns. Kim Smith was in good company! We toasted the following 2017 Essex National Heritage Area Trailblazers:

1)PRESERVING THIS SPECIAL REGION
1st place | Essex County Greenbelt Association
2nd place | Ipswich River Watershed Association
3rd place | The Cabot

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2)CONNECTING PEOPLE TO PLACE
1st place | The Trustees of Reservations
2nd place | Mass Audubon
3rd place |Essex Agricultural Society

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surprised Pilar !

3)BUILDING & GROWING OUR FUTURE
1st place — Peabody Essex Museum
2nd place — YMCA of the North Shore
3rd place — Valley View Farm

4)ADVANCING OUR EDUCATIONAL MISSION
1st place (tie) | Lowell’s Boat Shop and The House of Seven Gables
2nd place | Maritime Gloucester
3rd place | Essex Shipbuilding Museum

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sailing at the same table: Mayor Romeo Theken, Mary Kay Taylor Schooner Ardelle, Graham Mckay Lowell’s Boatshop Amesbury; Stefan Edick Schooner Adventure. Bill Steelman presenting award to Graham.

Nice detail: the second festive beverage for the reception featured the trio of colors in the Essex National Heritage logo.

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Gloucester organizations and partners were featured in the slide loop including: City Hall for Community Preservation, Discover Gloucester, Lannon, Rocky Neck, Schooner Adventure, HarborWalk, Cape Ann Museum.

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from Essex National Heritage printed matter:

On April 5 2017 we’re celebrating all of the incredible organizations and people that we’ve spent the last two decades working with to preserve and enhance the significant historic, cultural, and natural places that make Essex County like nowhere else. We are also THRILLED that Secretary John Kerry will joining as the celebrate. Secretary Kerry played a key role in the federal legislation designating the Essex National Heritage Area in 1996!

Who are the Trailblazers and which will receive a toast?
The public nominated 131 Trailblazers.  While all Trailblazers will be recognized at the Gala, only a few will be honored with a special toast!  The public was invited to vote for which Trailblazers will receive a toast, and the results will be revealed only at the event; toasts will be made at the Gala!

SNOWY DAY TOUR OF GLOUCESTER

Snowy April Fools Day scenes from Niles Beach, the Greasy Pole, City Hall, backshore, Bass Rocks, Good Harbor Beach, Fitz Henry Lane house, and more. 

#snowyday #gloucesterma Niles Beach seagulls #aprilfoolsday #spring #snow #seagulls

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Greasy Pole countdown – only two months to go! #snowyday tour #gloucesterma #aprilfools #spring #snow

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Snowy day tour of Gloucester #aprilfools #spring #snowyday #gloucesterma #cityhall

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BEAUTIFUL GLOUCESTER HARBOR AFTER THE SNOWSTORM

Beautiful Gloucester Harbor in the morning light as the storm was departing.gloucester-harbor-paint-factory-cape-pond-ice-copyright-kim-smithStanding on the pier at I4-C2 HarborWalk.
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Harbor dredging clean up continues

View from the HarborWalk #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland #snowyday #fishing #fishingboat

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Gloucester Harbor panorama #gloucesterma #scenesofnewengland #fishing

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COYOTE FORUM SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 2nd FROM 7 TO 9PM

eastern-coyote-canis-latrans-massachusetts-kim-smithFROM THE MAYOR:

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.

 

 

Proposed building plans Sawyer Free Library, City Hall…Whoa! In the news plus the 1973 appeal led by Joseph Garland, universal access, and archives

“No finer place for sure, downtown.”

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“Fate of historic buildings uncertain” Gloucester Daily Times, Ray Lamont, Jan 3 2017

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.

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Cape Ann Museum, December 2017

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.

HANDICAP PARKING SPACES BY CITY HALL- Do we have enough?

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.

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Dale Avenue c.1910

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City Hall, December 2017

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The site of possible razing and paving

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NEW LIBRARY 2016. And 1973.

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.

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Awesome design  on this 1973 brochure for the fundraising campaign for the Sawyer Free library– led by the Joe Garland (cover). See photos of complete pamphlet

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See “Preserving our Civic Center,” great letter to the editor by Prudence Fish, Gloucester Daily Times, December 23, 2016

Working together

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2016 Planning term and movement- “Scaling Up”

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 

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City Looks to Prioritize its Needs, Gloucester Daily Times, Ray Lamont, Dec. 19, 2016

There are several looming questions, evaluations, and decisions.

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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.

HISTORY MAKING PLEA- Archives for all

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 collages51

that would be wonderful.  It’s not just Gloucester.

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