The Essex National Heritage Commission welcomed more than 150 community and business leaders from around Essex County to its annual spring meeting at Winnekenni Castle.
The business portion of the session focused on the success of regional partnerships, the need for ongoing preservation, and ongoing efforts to promote the region through collaborative events. The group elected new members of the commission and announced the recipients of the 2013 Partnership Grant Awards.
Attendees were welcomed by Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini, who talked about his efforts to promote parks and trails and sustain historic resources. City Councilor Thomas Sullivan, vice president of development for the Winnekenni Foundation and also a newly appointed commissioner of Essex Heritage, gave a brief history of the castle and welcomed Essex Heritage members and others.
State Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives also welcomed the group to Haverhill and spoke of the importance of tourism to the regional economy. She mentioned the “gems right here in the city of Haverhill” as examples of regional assets.
Essex Heritage is supported by a 150-member Board of Commissioners. Members live or work in the area and serve as representatives of the communities, businesses, community organizations, educational institutions and historic, cultural and natural resources of the region. The following people were nominated to serve as commissioners for three-year terms:
Thomas Alexander, Alexander & Femino, Beverly
Tim Coco, Coco & Co., Haverhill
Lawrence Morse, Lawrence B. Morse & Associates, Danvers
Beth Anne Bower, Salem State University, Salem, Mass.
Thomas Sullivan, attorney, Haverhill
Timothy Felter, Newburyport Five Cent Savings Bank, Newburyport
Michael Spanos, Business Systems Consultants, Beverly
Kristin Zampell Noon, Wenham Museum, Wenham
Other attendees included: Michael Bonfanti, former Mayor of Peabody, Essex Heritage commissioner; Molly Gachignard, Office of Representative John Keenan; Denise Johnson, Office of Congresswoman Niki Tsongas; Jerry Klima, Salisbury Board of Selectmen; Hailey Klein, Office of state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives; Chris Lange, Office of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and Barry Pett, Office of state Sen. Bruce Tarr.
Essex Heritage President Richard Yagjian offered the president’s report and thanked organizations and individuals for their support of Essex Heritage. He then spoke about the importance of community engagement and provided information about resources in the Essex National Heritage Area.
Yagjian said that during his 1½ years as president, the regional partnership of Trails & Sails has allowed more than 8,000 people to experience the heritage area in new ways. He also talked about the strong partnership with the National Park Service to promote youth jobs and teacher training.
Director of Heritage Development Bill Steelman announced the 2013 Partnership Grant Recipients. The Partnership Grant Program is a matching grant program created to support the activities of organizations sharing the mission of preserving and promoting the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Essex National Heritage Area. The 15-year-old program has provided more than $1.8 million to communities and nonprofit organizations.
Grants were awarded to: Andover Historical Society, Danvers Alarm List Company, Essex Historical Society & Shipbuilding Museum, Rocks Village Memorial Association in Haverhill, Ipswich River Watershed Association, Friends of Lawrence Heritage State Park, Lawrence History Center Nahant Preservation Trust, Thacher Island Association in Rockport and the Essex County Greenbelt Association.
For additional details about the grants, please visit: http://www.essexheritage.org/partnershipgrants/index.shtml.
A State of the Heritage Area report by Annie Harris, Essex Heritage chief executive officer, highlighted national efforts to promote and encourage Heritage Areas. Harris explained how Essex Heritage works with a small staff throughout the 500 square miles of Essex County to build support for projects.