Building in Gloucester, MSBA School Committee consolidation update, and MAPC City Housing forum

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Three meetings with some items in common were held at the same time this past Wednesday, October 26, 2016: the standing School Committee meeting (including updates on new building) which include members Mayor Romeo Theken and Councilor Favazza; the Housing Building/Production Plan Public Forum #2 at City Hall which includes Councilor Lundberg; and a Forum to Focus on Building in the City held at the Magnolia library and community center with 3 Councilors LeBlanc, Orlando and Nolan.

Cape Ann TV filmed the first two.  (I will add them into the post.)

 

School Committee Meeting

“We’re on a path right now.”  “Nobody said we can’t pay.”   “We’re in Phase II of a 3-phase plan. We may need to convince the community to vote for a debt exclusion to pay for it.”

The MSBA toured East Gloucester Elementary School earlier in the week to corroborate the condition related to the School Committee Statement of Interest to consolidate East Gloucester Elementary and Veterans Memorial. The School Committee relayed that the community is united in expressing a need for new schools, moving forward and not changing course. The MSBA ascertains the community’s readiness and ability to pay. Gloucester is still in the running for MSBA aid. The pool of applicants was whittled down to 30 from 89 and sometime December or January, Gloucester will learn if MSBA accepts the plan, rejects it or places it on hold. “Up, down, maybe the plan is for the East Gloucester/Veterans only.”

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Housing Production Forum at City Hall (I’ll add links to the presentation and feedback from the Magnolia forum):

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Citizens waiting in line to vote just after 6pm

Gloucester street art is an all star

Worcester, the host city for the Ma Smart Growth Conference, is Massachusetts’ second largest city and pretty pumped with a 500 million investment in their ‘city square’ area. The city invested 8 million dollars into their ‘streetscapes’, including a skating rink. “10,000 came out for themed skate nights!” I’ve heard skating rink wishes mentioned once or twice in Gloucester: discussions pro I4C2 or somewhere on Middle Street (“a scene nearly Currier and Ives!”) and why isn’t the O’Maley skating rink used by the students? “We used to use it for gym? It’s an amenity right there.”

Other conference talks focused on investment in public space and public health. Worcester aims to earn the distinction Healthiest Community in MA by 2020. They have the first and only accredited public health department so they’re investing in a core culture.  The conference speakers spoke about housing, planning, walk-ability, return of multi-generational family households, and diversity. Millennials say: “Where do I want to live?” and then go. Their parents’ said “Where is the job?” and relocated. We were told many times that millennials are different than boomers: they don’t like traditional offices and buildings for work. They would rather walk, bike or commute by train. Ideally their life radius would fall within one mile, a neighborhood scale. How does that affect consolidating schools vs neighborhood schools and other debates ensued.

From a planning perspective: “Does the investment action help to encourage sprawl or does it invest in your community?”

 

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The session “Is Housing a Municipal Budget Buster” was led by Mayor Donna Holaday of Newburyport and panelists included former Gov. Glendening and Umass Dartmouth Director of Public Policy, Michael Goodman. Most questions went to Mike Hogan, who gave a talk about Oceanspray’s residential venture in Plymouth, Redbrook Village. Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce brought him here to speak to our communities a couple of years ago.  He said to say hi to Peter Webber :).

The second session I attended focused on arts and planning and was led by artist (ceramicist) and planner, Jennifer Erickson with Kenneth Bailey, Design Studio for Social Intervention (D24SI) and others.  A projected slide loop featuring model national art projects scrolled continuously. I was so caught up in the briefs that I nearly missed one picture from Gloucester: the monumental Parsons Street mural by James Owen Calderwood. Congratulations James!

Cruz Ferreras took the photograph during a block party; there’s a Cape Ann Art Haven painting in progress and kids leaping. Since that photo, street lighting and more art was added, a second monumental mural, painted by children, under the direction of Cape Ann Art HavenThe Gloucester Fish Net mural was a temporary commission that is lasting because the road is primarily used for walking. (Also, the artist painted it over a second time, and widened it.) With funding, Cape Ann Art Haven art center  or an individual artist like Jason Burroughs (who assisted James Owen Calderwood) could re-paint the mural. With funding and fresh sealcoating, we could issue a Call for a new work of art. There are several more walls along Parsons Street that could be a wonderful matrix for murals, or the streetscape for a dance or theater production. 

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Google street view FISH NET 300 foot street muralIMG_6891

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 29th: Reimagining Railroad 3rd Public Meeting

Cat Ryan submits-

Gloucester Community Development Department and the state’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council

Monday September 29, 2014

City Hall, Kyrouz Auditorium, 7pm

Hey Joey,

Please come for a presentation including recommendations about possible zoning and planning THIS COMING MONDAY September 29, 2014, from 6PM-8PM at Kyrouz Auditorium in City Hall. As a reminder, this series is devoted to Gloucester’s railroad station and surrounding areas. The first meeting was held back in March, and the 2nd in June.

While we’re at it: sample walking-distance comparables from train station to beach.

· Manchester: train station to singing beach .6miles

· Gloucester: train station to Pavilion Beach .6miles (either Washington or down Dale to Fort past Chamber) Man at Wheel .45 miles

· Gloucester: train station to Stage Fort (2 beaches) .9 miles

o Gloucester: train station to Good Harbor 2.5 miles (45 minutes walking ); Gloucester parking lot spot to beach spot .3 miles!

· Rockport: train station to Rockport Beach .6 miles

· Ipswich: Cranes Beach 5.5 miles

Contact

Eric Halvorsen ehalvorsen@mapc.org www.mapc.org

Tom Daniel TDaniel@gloucester-ma.gov, Gloucester Community Development Director

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