To the editor:
A recent letter to the editor described the author’s dismay at the loss of “community culture” in Gloucester (the Times, Dec. 22, 2012).
I respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree. The packed elementary school auditoriums during holiday sing-alongs, the year-round efforts of parent boosters in support of youth sports and the quiet acts of volunteerism that occur every day are just a few examples of the strong culture of community that exists in Gloucester.
In my role as an at-large representative on the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) , I regularly experience additional reminders of incredible community builders that seek Community Preservation Act funds to preserve our history, support affordable housing and secure open and recreation space for all to enjoy.
The first two rounds of Gloucester Community Preservation Act funding helped to restore the exterior of our iconic City Hall, maintain affordable housing for seniors at Sheedy Park with an overdue roof replacement, restore the vessels Adventure and the Phyllis A., acquire land at the Tompson Street reservation to create proper public access to a 300 acre Greenbelt reservation and begin the work to restore the WPA murals in City Hall, to name just a few.
Now that the state Legislature has approved a change in the open space category to include recreation, the CPC is eager to hear from the citizens of Gloucester. Because of this change, we were recently able to recommend to and have approved by the City Council funding of $298,000, to complete the $3.6 million renovation of Newell Stadium , a collaboration of many community partners.
What are the most important recreation areas in your opinion? How should we prioritize our recreational needs? You may not be in a position to submit a formal grant application, but you can help the CPC understand the citizen perspective on what is most needed for recreation improvements in the city of Gloucester.
The CPC will hold a public hearing and information meeting for this purpose on Thursday, Jan. 17, at 6 p.m. in the Friend Room at the Sawyer Free Library. If you cannot attend, you can submit ideas in writing to Debbie Laurie, Senior Project Manager, Community Development Grants Division, 3 Pond Road, Gloucester or call 978- 282-8004 with any questions.
In addition to Newell Stadium, eight new projects in Round 3 of CPA funding were recently recommended by the CPC to and approved by the City Council. The North Shore Art Association, Lane’s Cove Fish Shack Building Committee, Friends of Good Harbor, and Maritime Gloucester are some of the recipients of Round 3 funding.
The fourth cycle of funding will soon be upon us, and interested applicants begin with a one page project eligibility form due by Feb. 1, 2013. Information, application forms and instructions are available on the CPC’s webpage or at the Community Development Grants Office on Pond Road.
The people of Gloucester give generously of their time, money, and compassion on a regular basis. Because of them, the community culture is alive and thriving in this incredible place we call home.