GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 25, 2013

The Mayor's Desk: Community spiirit shines through projects

The Mayor's Desk
Carolyn Kirk

---- — Gloucester is on a roll.

I can tell because my schedule is packed with special events. But seriously, when I step back and look around at what is going on in the city, it is amazing to see the different projects and community spirit come together.

This week, we held the traditional opening of the Visitor Welcoming Center at Stage Fort Park. Our wonderful volunteers who are the face of Gloucester to visitors from all over the world are in attendance and are always warmly applauded for their service.

Restaurants donate food for the event, and each business is given the opportunity to showcase what they have in store for the upcoming season. The microphone is passed around and we learn about new menu changes at Alchemy restaurant, or the murder mystery dinner planned for the Beauport Museum or the fact that Big Mike’s Bikes will deliver bicycles to the various accommodations for guests to enjoy.

Across the way, from the Visitor Welcoming Center is Gloucester’s newest attraction – the Dog Park. It was packed that day. We just “unleashed” it a week ago, and already it is a favorite spot for our canine community. I spoke to a gentleman who had just been there, and asked him what his dog thought of it. He said that his dog had just lost his sister, and he was trying to get the dog to socialize, and was so happy to have the Dog Park environment.

The Dog Park embodies the community spirit of Gloucester at its best.

Three years ago, as I was standing on Rogers Street with Councilor Joe Ciolino, he introduced me to this woman who was walking her two beagles. She was passionate about the need to have a dog park in the city.

I basically said, “go for it. Make it happen.” And they did! They didn’t point at City Hall and say, “you need to do this for us.”

They came to us with a vision and a plan and a fund-raising strategy, and a request for help. The city, along with the City Council, set aside two acres of unused land at Stage Fort Park, and the community did all the rest. It is an amazing accomplishment. If you haven’t been there, you should definitely stop by.

Another great event was the christening of The Gloucesterman. This is the launch boat and service provided by the Waterways Board through the Harbormaster’s office. The boat carries up to 24 people and for the first time ever, visiting boaters will be able to pick up a guest mooring or drop an anchor in the anchorage area, and the city of Gloucester will come and get you, and take you to shore.

This is a huge milestone and a recognition that we can all share the harbor, and that the water is an important gateway to our shops, restaurants, museums, and art galleries. We look forward to tracking the progress of the launch service and are optimistic for its success.

Lastly, another recent event and fitting for this Memorial Day weekend, was the rededication of the veterans’ lot at the Beechbrook Cemetery. There are 400 Veteran’s buried there, and Eagle Scout Zachary Schultz took on the restoration of the gravestones as his community service project.

Everyone swelled with pride as this young man unveiled the new sign that says, “Resting here in peace is the bravery and valor of our country.”

Gloucester is blessed with an abundance of community spirit. How lucky are we to live in such a great city.

Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.