On the beach side, Precision Roofing is working on the concession topper
On the beach side, Precision Roofing is working on the concession topper
They should be up and running today! Look for more later this summer and into the Fall.
Tall industrial street lamps are being switched out to match the period lights, while extant lights will be retrofitted.
Huge shout out to Joe Lucido, Mike Hale, and the entire crew that make up the departments of public works and services for the City of Gloucester. Please thank these gentlemen next time you see them. Hard working guys that they are, they have added plover helpers to their long list of responsibilities, and all have lent a hand in helping Gloucester’s Piping Plovers succeed.
Thanks so much to Joe and Mike and their crews for all that they are doing to help keep our city looking its best, mostly for people, but their efforts tremendously help the Plovers, too.
I took this snapshot of the trash barrels late yesterday afternoon, Sunday, after one of the busiest beach days of the summer. No trash spilling out! So far so good with the updated Carry In/Carry Out-Trash Barrel Plan.
Gloucester Department of Public Works (DPW) is clearing out and revamping a little overgrown corner by the scenic footbridge. Pretty much everything that was there is returning: the bench, bike racks, sign, and 1 trash barrel. Weeds will be cleared out. The rotting sign is being replaced and relocated by the tree and perpendicular to the road so as to be readable and preserve view shed. DPW is installing a foot wash which has been a request for a number of years, a tiny water tap off the water main and regulated with a meter. The recent “paving was just an overlay to address a series of potholes.” They’re repairing some broken sidewalk panels, too.
TRASH BARRELS ON THE WEEKENDS – Now you’ll see them
TRASH BARRELS DURING THE WEEK – Now you won’t
There will be pairs of barrels at the beach paths on Gloucester’s two biggest beaches– Good Harbor and Wingaersheek– on weekends as a trial experiment. The barrels will be emptied including a late evening sweep to ensure they’re not left overflowing through the night. It’s a combo option of carry in / carry out with carry in / carry off, because the former works well for most people, not all.
What did DPW find this past weekend?
The barrels were full both days. It was less messy than some of the previous busy weekends. There was lots of dog waste. By morning, they found that there was still trash left in the parking lot which means…
Some beach goers disregard all options: carry in /carry out policy, new blue plastic bags, new barrel pairs at the paths, even a dumpster they walked by behind the concession stand. Oh, and there’s the dog waste despite the No Dog May-October ordinance.
Of course, the litter is not just at beaches. Yes, it detracts from other priorities. DPW is finding trash pretty much everywhere people park (like the boat ramps.) Some people feel that it’s ok to leave behind bags of trash outside where they parked, or next to a full barrel. Gentle reminder from DPW: Pizza to go boxes atop the barrels can block bins that may hold more. Pizza boxes need to be compacted.
GHB parking lot clean as a whistle after busy weekend
pedestrian bridge? clean as a whistle? not so much and yet so –keeping it positive–the beach was jam packed yesterday!
other: Creek opened Monday (board of health, not DPW)
What’s happening on Maplewood? Much of it is underground. Orchestrated crews are working on a huge project in a neighborhood that has been neglected for some time.
Status: in progress
The work includes 4000 feet road resurfacing (July) and nearly 5000 feet of new sidewalk (both sides). DPW is working to make improvements to utilities as well: all new water services, a series of valves and some drain work. “National Grid is also replacing some aging gas mains and services.”
Progress June 2017: nearing finish line
Project start: partial sidewalk begun last year
Funding Awarded: FY2017-18
Contract completion: part of City’s annual paving bid and on schedule.
Locations: downtown Maplewood Avenue. This work dovetails with larger water work “bid and awarded to Granese of Salem. They worked on the right hand side of Washington Street all spring (Riverside, Gloucester Ave, Whittemore and now moving to Grove and Derby see photo today) cleaning and lining water mains.”
Priority: Top Level! Mayor’s Office considers infrastructure and safety improvements a priority and walkability adding into quality of life benefits for residents, visitors and economy.
Upcoming streetscape work– Middle Street
So long 6 silver aluminum lights on Main Street. The industrial street lamps are being replaced later this month with the same design as the ones installed on the Boulevard.
Eventually DPW will replace the Main Street period lights, too. This one has earned a distinction of most odd one out for a while!
The replacement of Roger Street lights will be scheduled sometime even further out.
Phil Curcuru shares that a new and improved boardwalk is being installed this week at Good Harbor Beach at the #2 location, directly in front of the snack bar. The boardwalk will be wide enough to be handicap accessible.
Thank you Phil and Mike, and thank you to the Gloucester DPW for the tremendous job they do maintaining Good Harbor, and all of Gloucester’s public beaches, throughout the year.
Saturday May 6, 2017 is the official ribbon cutting re-opening of Stacy Boulevard by Mayor Romeo Theken. Thanks to the Mayor, Mike Hale and all Gloucester DPW, GZA, Essex County Landscape Assoc, Gloucester Community Preservation Act, Ann Giraldi Johnson, GFWA, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and groups like the Seaport Economic Council and Dir Carolyn Kirk, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Joe Lucido, Ed Parks, Mike Linquata, Donna Ardizzoni and One Hour at a Time Gang, Ringo Tarr, Bobbie Turner, YMCA and summer help, Wolf Hill, Generous Gardeners, and other volunteers!
Tulip Festival and bonnet parade Saturday 10AM
Ribbon Cutting 11:30AM
Party at Mile Marker Restaurant 6-10PM
Earlier posts outline the engineering. The photograph above details the subgrade that was re-established for irrigation (note ditch alongside walkway), loam and sod. The photo also emphasizes the lengthy short wall on the right which was removed for access during construction. “The excavation was deep enough that the angle of repose was into the old wall.” The wall in the photo is rebuilt.
Spacing and symmetry were important design considerations for Stacy Boulevard construction. The old benches were surveyed. Most were returned relative to where they were sited before the build out. The memorial benches on the boulevard are full. This one shows a tribute to Al Swelka.
Photos Nov-Dec 2016. Video caption: Stacy Boulevard construction minute – stroll before January, and sod. Upcoming posts in this Stacy Boulevard series include: disasters, the cultural landscape, and Blynman.
STACY BOULEVARD NEARING THE FINISH LINE Part 1 – Walk this way: Gloucester’s stately Stacy Boulevard public works project is breathtaking and one for the ages!
September 12 2016- Stacy Boulevard construction update: historic Blynman the Cut Bridge project scope plans and engineering details
photo L-R: Principal Debra Lucey; Steven Winslow Community Development; Val Gilman Ward 4 City Councilor
Thirty people came together in the beautiful library at O’Maley for a public meeting concerning safer walking on nearby streets. The meeting was presented by Ward 4 Councilor Val Gilman and Mayor Romeo Theken. Read prior post with announcement details. Steve Winslow from Community Development gave a presentation before a crowd of residents, mostly from the neighborhood with a smattering of O’Maley parents. O’Maley’s terrific Principal, Debra Lucey, participated.
Winslow explained that he and Principal Lucey worked on the crux of the issues back in 2012 through a “Safe Routes to School” planning study. Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School are implemented by MassDOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation). Principal Lucey, a Lanesville resident, drives to school via Reynard Street, arguably the route most discussed as being problematic at this particular meeting. People are driving too fast on Cherry Street.
Nothing is final and the discussion was open. Attendees were encouraged to put a sticker by projects they wanted to prioritize and/or take off the table. What three would you tick?
Lucey and her husband relocated to Gloucester because of the O’Maley job and a sweet connection with Gloucester. She and her husband had their first date here: Good Harbor Beach and dinner at the Rudder!
Contractor: Newport, Nashua, NH, Brian McCabe is the Project Manager
Status: in progress
Progress April 2017: nearing finish line
Project start (historic): pre 1900
Modern project start: 1999
Funding Awarded: 2013
Bid Open and contract amount: 2/24/15 approx $7 million
Contract completion: on schedule, estimated spring 2017
Locations: Stacy Boulevard and Blynman
Priority: Top Level! Unique and exceptional project– Mayor’s Office considers seawall boulevard a priority necessity, for safety, a centuries infrastructure project with immeasurable quality of life benefits for residents and visitors and essential to economy
Temporary work site chain link fence: Required. The chain link fence is installed by the contractor to protect the work zone and define it better.
Tender house at Blynman and bridge: These are State not city/DPW purview. The new bridge house is temporary (thankfully). The entire bridge needs to be replaced and when it is a new tender’s house will be constructed. I will write more about the bridge house and Blynman in other posts.
Local jobs– scroll below
photo above: fencing subcontractor on a beautiful work site readying for railing. Railing required diamond coring like old granite quarrying. Stacy Boulevard December 2016.
photo caption: Railing! 2000 feet of new galvanized railing. (The replaced railing was not galvanized. DPW replaces railing: it’s simply a matter of funding.)
photo caption: Alex Karp – GZA Field Engineer Boulevard construction. The GZA company acquired (David) Vine Associates. GZA is the design engineer for the boulevard project. David Smith at GZA (formerly Vine) has worked with Gloucester since 1999.
photo caption: Gloucester’s DPW construction along the Boulevard
photo caption: CAP STONE! It’s more than decorative. It has two exposed sides that need to be trimmed to look perfect. Mike Hale, Boulevard construction, November (of course note beard) 2016
photo caption: Stacy Boulevard contruction capstone and harbor
photo CAPtion!: Stacy Boulevard dazzling dizzying scope of ocean and capstone as far as the eye can see
photo caption: Mike Hale with Brian McCabe, Project Manager, Newport construction, November 2016, Gloucester Boulevard
Along with the Mayor’s office and current administration, Gloucester’s DPW and Newport Construction work with subcontractors including local ones such as:
GZA – national with corporate headquarters in Norwood, MA – Engineering
Gloucester Transit Mix Concrete, Gloucester, MA, – huge part of project!
Cape Ann Stone, Rockport, MA, Bruce Johnson (owner) – granite
MBT Electricians, Gloucester, MA – electrical and lighting
Essex County Landscaping, Gloucester, MA, J D Aspesi (owner) – irrigation and sod
Anne Gilardi Johnson – additional new gardens, site and landscape design for the Boulevard (building upon the successful Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Memorial)– Johnson , a Gloucester native and multi award winning landscape architect, was commissioned by the Fishermen’s Wive Memorial board back in 2000 to design the landscape for Morgan Faulds Pike bronze sculpture, dedicated August 2001. “A series of design plans, and finally a study model, was produced as part of an interactive process between the designer, sculptor, and the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association.” Johnson is a member of the Boston Society of Landscape Architects (largest chapter of the national organization), “known for her design of urban spaces including parks, playgrounds, memorials and streetscapes in Boston,” Worcester, and Gloucester. Her award winning designs include Boston’s (James) Hayes and Childe Hassam Parks in the South End. Generous Gardeners is planting the new beds on the Boulevard: thousands of tulip and daffodil bulbs were planted by many volunteers last fall to bloom this spring!
some prior posts:
April 2017 nearing the finish line Part 1- Walk this way: Gloucester’s stately Stacy Boulevard public works project is breathtaking and one for the ages! Part 1
September 12 2016- Stacy Boulevard construction update: historic Blynman the Cut Bridge project scope plans and engineering details
The Gloucester Daily Times published a construction status for the Western Avenue Project on June 5, 1923. Necessary delays were explained and some of the work would not be ready for Gloucester’s tercentenary celebration. The column indicates that the bridge house would be moved across the street–which didn’t happen then, but is happening in 2017– and mentions the state’s involvement.
Work on the construction of the new Western avenue seawall as far as the state is concerned, is practically completed and the lighters which for several months past have afforded great interest in many spectators have been withdrawn from the job…
On the western end of the park, the wall which held up the little park known as Marine Park is being capped with a four-foot cement topping, to bring it level to and joined with the new wall just completed from that point easterly toward Morgan’s store.
Although hopes had been held out that the entire boulevard could be completed in time for the celebration, doubts are expressed now if this can be brought to a conclusion because of the large amount of work to be done, such as filling in behind the wall just erected, and the laying out of the street. Before the street can be laid out, time must be allowed for the settling of the rock filling, thousands of tons of which are to be dumped behind the wall, and this, it is now believed by those in charge, will not be ready for surfacing until spring (1924) at the least.
The bridge-house and the small shed alongside of it are scheduled to be moved to the other side of the street so that an unobstructed view of the boulevard from The Tavern to…“
The Gloucester Daily Times published this image in 1923 with the photo caption: “Now Under Construction on the Southern Side of Western Avenue, this Project When Completed Will Give Gloucester one of the Finest Approaches of Any City on the Atlantic Seaboard.” The meticulously hand drawn credit within the drawing itself caught my eye as much as the drawing: “Proposed Treatment of Waterfront, Gloucester, Mass. Thomas W. Sears Landscape Architect, Providence RI”. Thomas W. Sears was a remarkable 20th Century landscape designer. The modern Boulevard work completed in 2014-17 gracefully carries out and returns to the original dreams for the Western Avenue highway and park that are more than a century in the making.
photo caption: Boulevard construction progress © Catherine Ryan, December 2016
Thomas Warren Sears was born in 1880 in Brookline, Massachusetts, and grew up in this modest family abode at the corner of Beacon and Charles Street. This black and white house portrait was shot in 1897.
Here’s a Google street view photo for comparison today.
After being ousted from the New York City parks department, the ‘father of American landscape design’, Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903), launched his business a ten minute walk from the Sears family home. The headquarters at 99 Warren Street was named “Fairsted” and was in operation until 1979 when it was declared a National Historic Site and transferred to the National Parks.
photo caption: Frederick Law Olmsted Fairsted © Jack Boucher, Library of Congress collection
Sears worked for the Olmsted Brothers immediately after receiving two degrees from Harvard– his BA in 1903 and his BS in 1906. (There may have been an earlier Brookline connection.) Rather quickly Sears left to set up his own firm: first in Providence, RI, when he did work for Gloucester’s Boulevard, and not long after in Philadelphia. In 1911 he gave a talk for the Proceedings of the Engineers’ Club of Philadelphia 28 (April 1911):147-158., “The Functions of the Landscape Architect in Connection with the Improvement of a City” available online as part of an urban planning anthology compiled by John W. Reps, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University. I wonder if he shared his Gloucester photographs as part of his talk?
“There are two main approaches to cities: (1) On water by boat, and (2) on land by railroad. Along both of these lines of approach land should be taken for public use, and for very different reasons. Take first the use of water fronts: Unless some provision is made for the public, the whole water front, whether it be river or harbor, may be usurped by commercial enterprise and the public deprived of ever seeing the water except when aboard a boat. In certain cases, as in New York, where the water front must of necessity be utilised for dockage, a combination of commercial and public use may be successfully employed. There the docks are owned by the city and leased by the steamship companies; in this way their appearance can be controlled. At present it is planned to build on the tops of these docks huge recreation parks which may be used by the public.”- 1911 Thomas W. Sears
Mike Hale’s contemporary perspective shares a similar philosophy with Sears:
“An effort has been made in this paper to show clearly that landscape architecture is utilitarian quite as much as esthetic; that whatever one is designing, whether it be a city plan or any of the elements in a city, the design should be governed by use as much as beauty.” – 1911 Thomas W. Sears
By 1917 Sears was commissioned regularly and had a long, full career including notable designs for the Reynolda estate now part of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the wildly influential outdoor amphitheater for Swarthmore College, the Scott Outdoor Auditorium. His work in Gloucester is rarely mentioned.
Since the Gloucester drawing was marked ‘Providence’, I knew the drawing was done long before the 1923 construction. I tentatively dated the schematic ca.1910. Thankfully Thomas Warren Sears was a photographer, too. Turns out that this image is a Sears’ photograph of a lovely Sears’ design. The glass negative is dated 1908 which squares with his professional career timeline.
One of the modern design elements is the welcome ornamentation of lights. They feel like they were always here because line is such an essential part of design and they add the vertical visual interest. When I saw the new light bases I thought of the line of trees in the Sears drawing. I love the mix of natural and formal design in his rendering, but am equally gobsmacked by the sweeping open vista. Both are sensitive approaches and part of the context of the Boulevard’s build.
photo caption: animation emphasizing new lights, late November 2016, ©c. ryan
Thomas Warren Sears photographed Western Avenue for his preparatory work. See the homes along the beach that were later removed for the construction of the Boulevard; distant vistas to the Surfside Hotel (built after Pavilion burned) and Stage Fort park; and Western Avenue street scenes looking east and west before the road was widened.
More photos and Gloucester designs:
Mike Hale, Gloucester’s Director of Public Services, was hired in July of 1999, the very same year that this ambitious boulevard infrastructure planning and funding search began for this project. It was funded in 2014. That means the current project timeline spanned 4 Mayors, administration, staff and city councils. The construction has been exceptionally well managed and I predict it will be or should be nationally recognized with awards. I have been documenting the progress and in the coming days will post several tributes, contemporary views, historic photos and background to rev up anticipation and respect.
On that day in history, Gloucester’s city council approved the purchase of two lots, the Grant and Low properties:
“Whereas it is the desire of the board of park commissioners of the city of Gloucester to take in fee by purchase or otherwise certain land in said Gloucester lying between Western Avenue and the sea,
“And whereas, the said board has estimated the expenses of acquiring the same to be $8000,
“It is hereby ordered that the sum of $8000 be and hereby is appropriated from the $90,000 Western Avenue act of 1922 to the board of park commissioners as provided by law for the purpose of acquiring and laying out as a public park such land as the said board of park commissioners consider desirable therefore, being the land as shown on a plan entitled ‘Proposed taking for highway and park purposes, Gloucester, Mass, dated April 16, 1923, John H. Griffin, City Engineer,’ having reference to that portion as shown on said plan as is proposed to be taken for park purposes.” I’ve added the bold emphasis to note the big vision of Western Avenue as a public park and extension of Stage Fort in 1923.
The significant original investment was tangible and long lasting, hallmarks of any successful public works project. Did the Boulevard improve the quality of life in Gloucester? It wasn’t easy. Houses and roads were moved.
Photo caption: “A VIEW NOW OF THE PAST. Most of us are familiar with the Above View. it Shows the Dwellings which Once Lined the Western Avenue Waterfront Before Work was Started Constructing the New Boulevard.”
These photographs were published in August 1923 and retrieved from the Gloucester Daily Times microfiche reel at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library.
The caption below describes Kent Circle “where grand stand has been erected for the review of the parades” for Gloucester’s tercentenary celebration.
Awaiting full access in 2017 is a mere blip of an inconvenience when considering how fundamental the Boulevard is for Gloucester. Its benefits are priceless.
Tomorrow’s post BRINGING PLANS TO LIFE
High tide is scheduled for 9:30AM– winds picking up just now with small fluttered white caps on green grey sea. All a calm beauty before 7am this morning.
Public meeting Thursday, September 15, 6pm.
Rotary vs. roundabout: The flyer drawing doesn’t convey the look of the 2 big rotaries nor the crazy crazy thrust the vehicle into a giant pin-ball machine experience of Beverly’s recent build. Whether the quaint English village conjuring that ’roundabout’ conveys or classic MA descriptor rotary, any Tally intersection discussions aren’t new. I’ve seen other plans and heard people express variations on a soaring pedestrian bridge as a lift connecting Main to the Boulevard and expansive view of the harbor.
I’m interested in plans and public space and regret that I can’t attend. It’s the same date and time as Open House at O’Maley Innovation Middle School.
How to create pedestrian friendly cities while maintaining necessary vehicular traffic is a challenge. It will be great to hear feedback from the presenters and the community. The flyer and drawing is just that, a rendering. Plans take forever! The boulevard recent reconstruction at the Cut as one example began in discussions pre-1999.
Here’s a coloring sheet. What would you do? And renderings dated February 2015.
From a planning perspective: “Does the investment action help to encourage sprawl or does it invest in your community?”
Two hundred feet of canal gravity wall is being reconstructed, extending from the bridge tender’s house around where you see visible in the photographs. This section of sea wall was dry laid granite block. The ebb and flow of tides and wakes took an inevitable toll, pulling debris material–like migrating soil— out from behind the wall. Over time the blocks settled, sidewalks sagged, and ruptures framed views into hollow voids 15 feet deep. Weakened considerably, areas were cordoned off until funding (Seaport Advisory and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs) was secured. The bridge tender’s house is abandoned which is why there is a temporary structure across the street. The state will be rebuilding that at a later date; the control house and the bridge are MassDOT purview and “likely a number of years out until a final plan is done.”
The new sea wall is the “mack daddy of building construction” befitting such an iconic locale. DPW is reusing the same gorgeous rugged blocks and materials, but now there’s footing where there never was any. The historic granite face is tied to reinforced steel. There’s a concrete core wall. Mike Hale Director of Gloucester’s Department of Public Works said the City is mindful of retaining the aesthetics and history, pronouncing any new stone “modular, lego-like” build an anathema to the site and residents.
Thanks to DPW for forwarding these details with labeled drawings explaining the infrastructure behind what’s visible:
Rose Lopiccolo of DPW says that the trash hauler may not do the routes in the same order so we may notice route and timing changes with neighborhood trash pick ups.
“Our new hauler, JRM began September 1. Just a friendly reminder that all trash and recycling, by City Ordinance(Sec 9-2), needs to be curb-side no later than 7:00 AM. We cannot guarantee that the new hauler will do the routes in the same order as the previous hauler. If animals are an issue in your area it is recommended that you use a trash barrel to contain your purple bag. If your trash or recycling was missed please call JRM at 800-323-4285, or the DPW at 978-281-9785.