There is much exciting work in progress along Stacy Boulevard including welcome tributes to women. Incremental aesthetic improvements, public access, ease of movement, and celebration of culture require many hands and deliver a huge impact. Here is a brief description of the special current projects and some people involved.
Two revitalized and enhanced gardens beyond the tennis courts will emphasize generations of care
“Remarkable support comes from volunteer expertise like award winning designer Ann Geraldi Johnson and Susan Kelly and the Generous Gardeners who have stepped up as the city’s groundskeepers on the boulevard.” Mike Hale, Director of Public Works
The Elizabeth Gordon Smith (Betty Smith) garden was cleared and the small Picture garden past the boulevard tennis courts was unearthed. Because Gloucester garden groups pre-date 1900, it’s especially moving to see the work in progess shoring up inspiring legacy connections. Incredible volunteers past and present serve the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Stacy Boulevard & Stage Fort Park advocates like Betty Smith, Louise Loud & the Gloucester Civic & Garden Council tended and protected Gloucester’s natural beauty — the very same grounds that are so lovingly served now by dynamos like Ann Gilardi Johnson and Susan Kelly & the Generous Gardeners. Plaques for Lucy Brown Davis, tribute by her sister Catalina Davis, and for Lucy P. Rogers ” president of the Gloucester’s Woman’s Club 1927-29″ are nearby.
photos: Betty Smith garden IN PROGRESS February (overgrowth and clearing underway–poison ivy was found) vs. March and can’t wait to experience the AFTER!
March 2019 work continuing across Stacy Boulevard – read details HERE about these projects– Hancock Sculpture, Betty Smith Gardens & Tennis Courts to the East, and Blynman Bridge & railings to the West- additional stunning work and investment thanks to Gloucester MA Department of Public Works, Ann Gilardi Johnson, Generous Gardeners, CPA, Department of Transportation (DOT), and more. Stacy Boulevard Part 8
March 24, 2019 photos of Walker Hancock Triton and grounds prep before/in process.
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City of Gloucester officials are working towards a Phase 3 for the Haskell Pond Dam reconstruction which I wrote about last week (Part 1). I included information about the original monumental build. In response, Bruce Roberts was kind enough to share these amazing photographs of the impressive crews at the Haskell Pond construction site 1901. Bonus: they were annotated by his grandfather in 1958. West Gloucester families may recognize a surname or two, maybe a family resemblance. Please help ID if you can.
Bruce Roberts explains: “My grandfather, Edward F. Roberts, identified the individuals back in 1958. There are some folks he didn’t recognize, since he would have been pretty young when these images were taken. The first picture has the most identified individuals. One thing that has always been remarkable to me in the second image is how much Chester Andrews, my g-grandfather, resembled my father, Eugene Roberts, at that age.”
HASKELL’S POND CONSTRUCTION ca.1901-02 – (Individuals ID’d by Edward Roberts in 1958)
Photo 1, Dec 1901 (in snow): “Wood Choppers at Haskell’s Pond, December 1901” Front Row, L-R: 1. Otis Lufkin, 2. Matt Poland, 3. Loren (sp?) Harris, 4. Melvin Wilkins, 5. Jim White
Back Row: 1.Asa Sargent, 2. unknown, 3. Ed Lufkin, 4. James Chadbourne, 5. Joseph Abbott, 6. unknown, 7. Joshua Roberts, 8 & 9. unknown
Last month I was fortunate to glimpse the impressive Haskell’s Pond Dam reconstruction orchestrated by Gloucester’s Department of Public Works (DPW). Protecting and managing water utilities can be easy to take for granted. “This not so sleepy dam by Rt. 128 continues to deliver almost 30% of the city’s water,” exclaimed Larry Durkin, City Environmental Engineer. He explained that years ago the DPW team began assessing the city’s water infrastructure and compliance requirements including what would happen during an event storm. Haskell’s Pond Dam needed attention: The reconstruction was projected to cost 2 million (based on the preliminary plans and the recent Babson Reservoir repair). Phase I and II were contracted out to SumCo Eco Contracting and the estimates were correct. The project cost two million and the work is largely completed thanks to grants and loans from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and the Commonwealth’s Dam and Seawall Program. DPW Director, Mike Hale, and Larry Durkin concur: “They are fabulous to work with.” Discovery was anticipated. While drilling it was determined that the Haskell Pond Dam was indeed not structurally stable, and a MAJOR fix would be required to bring the dam into compliance. The DPW team is working with the state to fund the critical work of Phase 3.
Until then, take time to enjoy its history. While checking out the 2018 progress, I pulled stories and stats from the Haskell’s Pond Dam original build In 1902. As with today, the dam work was regarded a model project. State assistance and contracted elements were required then, too. The numerous links among these two century projects are a fascinating delve and described below. The evolving breaking news in 1902 kicked off with a bang, surprising lawsuits (next stop for one could be Supreme Court), and deft leadership. Readers and history buffs will recognize names. (Tarr ancestors were involved; were yours?)
Scope for Phase 1 & 2: Construction of a new concrete spillway chute, concrete repairs, clearing of trees and unwanted vegetation and valve replacement at an earthen embankment dam within the City’s active water supply system, and more (A prior $175,000 grant from the state’s Dam and Seawall Program was awarded to support “engineering, permitting and the development of construction documents” which established scope for Phase 1)
Contractor: SumCo Eco Contracting, Status: largely completed Mayor: Mayor Romeo Theken DPW Director: Mike Hale City Environmental Engineer: Lawrence A. Durkin, P.E. Project start (historic): 1902 Modern project start: 2013-18; RFP for Phase I issued: March 15, 2017 Total project cost: estimated to be $7 million Funding Awarded to date: $1,925,000
from State:$1,925,000 – The City has done very well with Grants and Loans from the MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs (EEA), and its Dam and Seawall Program, Mike Hale and Larry Durkin concur. “They are fabulous to work with.”
Design & permitting grant FY 2016
Haskell Phase 1 Construction Grant FY 2017
Closed 6/30/17 and City reimbursed
Haskell Phase 1 Construction Loan FY 2018
Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
Haskell Phase 2 Construction Grant FY 2018 (Applied to Phase 1 change orders)
Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
Submission by DPW to EEA 7/26/18 for reimbursement
Haskell Phase 2 Full FY 2019 Grant, to be applied to Phase 3
to be realized if Phase 3 goes forward in FY 2019
EEA Total to date
Phase 3: Some future phase was anticipated, though obviously impossible to nail down until Phase 1 & 2 were completed. The reconstruction was based on discovery put into works five or more years ago as Durkin and DPW team assessed city’s watersheds. The dam has been deemed unstable and will require a major fix to be compliant. According to Durkin, the scope for Phase 3 will include “a secant concrete wall to be drilled and concrete along the dam crest for its entire length, cored in the bedrock beneath dam for structural stability and a concrete parapet wall tied into the secant wall that provides the necessary containment for the maximum storm as defined by the state” and some exicting ancillary projects I’ll write more about in a future update. Phase 3 is estimated to cost 5 million and DPW is working on grants with the state to ensure that it happens.
Location(s): West Gloucester Priority: Mayor Romeo Theken’s Office-City consider water highest priority – this one continues to provide 1/3 of the city’s water
Reviewing the ordeal that was constructing the dam– one hundred and six years ago –is a fascinating read, and helped me appreciate the major job it’s been in 2018. The original dam construction was contentious and hence the top news story of 1902 and years prior. While researching its beginnings, I was struck by just how many areas of concern and themes of city governance from 1902 remain relevant in 2018. Here’s a short list: the financial condition of the city (“revaluation”), suitable allocations, considering work on Rogers Street, water costs, heroic solo sails, possible steel bridge over Annisquam, Burnham Field play ground, pros and cons of tourism, disagreement over what is considered sound development, new theater on Main Street, announcing state grants, eminent domain, boundary lines, Gloucester Fresh, cut bridge in bad condition, aiming to keep work in town when possible, Stage Fort Park tributes, environmentally friendly innovations, sustainability, access and oodles of local politics- Office of Mayor and City Council, city staff, committees, and commissions.
The excerpts below pertain to Haskell’s pond dam from 1902 Gloucester Daily Times archives that I pulled from reels at Sawyer Free and transcribed for easy access. Plans and maps are courtesy of Mike Hale and the Department Public Work team. Links to high resolution versions are provided at the end of the post.
January 4, 1902 – MAYOR FRENCH LOSES: Aldermen Vote to Exonerate Water Commissioners
It has been a long time since I’ve brought a tiny boat through the Cut from the Annisquam side (alert and praying I wouldn’t slam into the walls or another boat as the waters rush and pull). How were ducks faring? They were amusing and difficult to count for a few stolen moments on this glorious summer day. They’d dive to eat what I’m not sure, and pop up, sometimes a bit too far back. Once they were under so long I found myself crossing to the other side of the bridge to see if they were dragged back or catching a ride. Not a chance.
I found the completed winter storm repairs at the Cut equally beautiful and distracting.
Nice job Gloucester Department of Public Works (DPW)!
VID (38 seconds) ducklings negotiate current at the Cut (wait for the cluster to pop up)
July 13 2018 – Gloucester Department of Public Works has completed winter storm repairs