Gloucester Tourism transitioning to even better future

cropped-21.jpg

Amid seemingly endless snowfall, a  Tourism Transition Committee comprised of key members from the City of Gloucester’s Tourism Commission, the Discover Gloucester-Destination Marketing Organization and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce have been meeting  since February to collaborate on the creation of a new public private tourism organization.

 

Discover Gloucester

Cape Ann Chamber

 

This “Tourism Transition Committee,” a temporary working group that will report its findings to the Tourism Commission, is working on the parameters of a new, permanent public/private Tourism organization that allows the visitor economy to speak and act with one voice.

“The visitor economy is such an important part of Gloucester because so many different people and organizations do their part to market the city as a unique destination,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “This effort which has been highly successful will be even stronger by having all the different groups work together. A new public/private organization will ensure that the different aspects of tourism will speak together and act in one voice, while sharing the amazing story that is Gloucester.”

The committee is chaired by Laura Dow, chair of the Gloucester Tourism Commission and owner of the Vista Motel and by Tobin Dominick, president of Discover Gloucester, past Chair of North of Boston Convention and Visitors Burearu and owner of the Cape Ann’s Marina Resort and Mile Marker One Restaurant. Other committee  members include Peter Webber, senior vice president, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce; Laura Baker, owner of Castle Manor Inn; Karen Ristuben, president and board chair of the Rocky Neck Art Colony; and Linn Parisi, executive director of Discover Gloucester. Carol Thistle, senior project manager from the Community Development Department, is facilitating the group.

Cape-Ann-Marina-Resort2x4

Castle Manor

MM1_box

Rocky Neck logo

The committee reports that  all tourism marketing efforts will continue as planned during the transition period.  Currently the Tourism Commission is working on a television advertising campaign, which includes April ad placement on National Geographic’s “Wicked Tuna” show as well as marketing to audiences in New York and western Massachusetts. The Commission also is beginning plans to open the Stage Fort Park Welcome Center for the season. Discover Gloucester continues to attend consumer and trade shows and will publish the new Discover Gloucester Visitor Guide in May.

lg__wicked_tuna_v2

City ordinance required the Tourism Commission to prepare a five-year marketing plan. The City retained consultant Chris Pappas of Open the Door, Inc. to evaluate the existing tourism management and financial model. After interviews of key tourism stakeholders and several community meetings, the Tourism Commission voted to adopt the five year plan , including a new organizational structure, and submit recommendations to Mayor Romeo Theken. The goal of the new public/private tourism organization is to continue and/or expand all current tourism marketing programs with the objective of increasing overnight visitation and tourism spending.

Cape Ann Museum to Display A. Piatt Andrew Bridge’s Bronze Door Sculpture Exhibit in Partnership with City and MassDOT

The City of Gloucester today announced the display of the historic bronze doors from the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge at the Cape Ann Museum through November 6th. The exhibit will allow residents and the public a rare opportunity to view the sculpted “Scenes of Gloucester” art, which adorn the bridge that connects Cape Ann to the mainland.

APAbridge3

 

“I’m thankful that the creative initiative shown by City employees, along with the enthusiastic participation of Cape Ann Museum and open support of MassDOT will allow residents to see these beautiful artifacts,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “Best of all, this cultural opportunity comes with no cost to the City.”

 

Abram Piatt Andrew, Jr. was a Gloucester resident and renowned economist who served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, founder and director of the American Ambulance Field Service during World War I, and as a congressman in the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

220px-Abram_Piatt_Andrew_1909

The doors, which weigh approximately 400 pounds apiece, are being refurbished as part of MassDOT’s Bridge Preservation Project at the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge. The bronze doors, which are located in each of the four granite-faced pylons above the bridge’s deck, were created by John Francis Paramino, a prolific Boston sculptor best known for works located on Boston Common, inside the Massachusetts State House and other public spaces across the Commonwealth, including a memorial of famed General Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to Boston and Bunker Hill and the “Declaration of Independence Plaque” which was unveiled on the 150th anniversary of the Revolutionary War.

 

The project was made possible by Jeffrey Shrimpton, a Senior Historic Resources Specialist with MassDOT; Cape Ann Museum Director Ronda Faloon and Curator Martha Oaks; The Gloucester Historical Commission; The Gloucester Committee for the Arts; and Matthew Coogan, Senior Planner with the City’s Community Development Department.

 

The doors will be installed in the Museum’s newly renovated Central Gallery. To celebrate their arrival, the Museum will offer free admission to Cape Ann residents all day on Saturday, April 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Free passes to the Museum are also available year-round at the Sawyer Free Library.

 

Following conclusion of the exhibit, the doors will be reinstalled on the bridge.

Bridge

City of Gloucester Awards $145,000 in Community Development Block Grant Funds for Housing, Social Services and Economic Development  

The City of Gloucester today announced that it had award more than $145,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to eight organizations in support of housing, healthcare, small business and youth employment programs in the community. The 2015 CDBG Program, which is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is an important element of the social safety system in Gloucester that leverages community partnerships and creative, innovative delivery of services to provide the highest level of benefits to residents.

 CDBG

“Gloucester is proud to support worthy organizations with CDBG funds,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “These groups have been excellent partners with the City and provide needed services to the community for housing, social services, job training, and small business growth.”

The 2015 CDBG recipients include:

Y Logo

Cape Ann YMCA Youth Employment Program     $35,000.00

This entry level employment program for young adults entering the job market entails the “Y” recruiting, training, supervising and employing more than 100 Gloucester teens and young adults. Work performed includes community clean up and disposal, basic landscaping, infrastructure maintenance and other tasks assigned through collaborative partners. The season begins on July 1 and continues through Labor Day weekend.

Action-banner

Action, Inc. Home Health Aide (HHA)/Nurse Aide Training     $25,000.00

The highly successful Action Home Health Aide program is an employment training program that has helped increase economic opportunity for unemployed and/or underemployed for low- to moderate-income Gloucester residents. In the most recent year, Action provided Home Health Aide training and direct placement and retention to 53 students through local home healthcare companies. In the coming year, Action is adding a new program to train 10 residents who previously completed HHA training as Nurse’s Aides.

 grace-center-web

Grace Center     $15,000.00

Grace Center offers case management services for homeless and low-income adults in crisis. The Center operates as a daytime drop in center, and offers a variety of services, including case management and assessment for needs such as health, housing, food and clothing, fuel assistance, and transportation. Grace Center, which addresses a severe need in the community, served 192 clients in the past year. The Center will expand to five days per week.

Cape Ann YMCA “ACCESS” Program     $10,000.00

The YMCA “ACCESS” program provides scholarships for children and families to participate in YMCA programs through a variety of free or reduced memberships and programs that include, but are not limited to: summer camp, swimming lessons, instructional classes and more. The program anticipates serving 100 youths this year.

GHA

Gloucester Housing Authority (GHA)     $14,000.00

Gloucester Housing Authority (GHA) Cape Ann Homeownership Center counseling program offers pre- and post-foreclosure home counseling, in-house first-time homebuyer classes, one-on-one counseling and online first-time homebuyer lessons. The program is certified by CHAPA’s Massachusetts Collaborative and meets mandatory requirements of the City of Gloucester’s First Time Homebuyer (FTHB), per HOME regulations. The Cape Ann Home Ownership Center, which assisted 145 clients last year, is the only certified program of its kind on Cape Ann.

byg-logo

Backyard Growers Community Gardens     $10,000.00

Backyard Growers, doing business as CA Business Incubator, Inc., is a provider of community garden services to low-income areas. Backyard Growers will construct a new community garden at the Veteran’s Way housing complex on the site of the former Riverdale youth garden, five garden beds at the McPherson Park housing complex and improvements to existing community gardens at Pond View Village.

Wellspring

 Wellspring House, Inc., Adult Learning Initiative (ALI)     $9,832.00

Wellspring House’s ALI serves local, low-income unemployed and underemployed adults who want to prepare to enter into college or who seek new skills to become more competitive in the job market.  The eight-week, full-time adult basic education program helps 45-50 low-income employees find better jobs and self-sufficiency.

HAWC

Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC)     $8,000.00

Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC) is a domestic violence crisis intervention and prevention program that supports victims of domestic violence through a satellite office in Gloucester. HAWC served 127 clients last year by providing safety planning, referral and advocacy. HAWC’s High Risk team support program also collaborates with police, batterer intervention agencies, the probation department and others in the legal system.

caiclogo

Cape Ann Interfaith Commission (CAIC) Homes Fund     $5,000.00

The CAIC Homes Fund offers low income individuals and families with assistance for first or last month’s rent or security deposits. The all-volunteer organization’s efforts prevented and reduced homelessness in 23 households last year.

OD_web_logo

Open Door Food Pantry     $4,000.00

Open Door’s Keeping Our Community Healthy by Connecting People to Good Food program offers free groceries and produce to low-income and underserved people. The program, which operates at varied hours Monday through Friday, offers a “choice pantry” to meet individual nutritional needs. Last year, Open Door served 4,423 individual Gloucester residents.

About the City of Gloucester

America’s oldest seaport, the City of Gloucester is known throughout the world as an authentic, working waterfront community, a place of spectacular natural beauty, and home to a diverse population of about 30,000 residents. An important center for the fishing industry, Gloucester also is proud of its vibrant cultural life and rich art heritage as one of the premier art colonies in the United States. In addition, the city is a destination for thousands of visitors who visit the harbor and its beaches during the summertime. In recent years, Gloucester has been actively diversifying its traditional maritime economy, adding leading small research institutions such as the UMass Amherst Large Pelagics Research Laboratory and the Ocean Alliance to the array of local businesses and state and federal agencies working in the city. Recent advancements in Gloucester include new investments in marine robotics and new product development from the fishery.

 

Media Contact: Community Development Director Tom Daniel, 978-281-9781

 

###

Gloucester at SEAFOOD EXPO NORTH AMERICA: City to promote Seafood Economy, Celebrate Historic Fishing Heritage & Culture

The City of Gloucester Is pleased to announce that Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and the Community Development Department will promote local economic development in Boston and in the community via SEAFOOD EXPO NORTH AMERICA, the nation’s largest seafood trade show on March 15-17.

Seafood Expo

(image courtesy of SEAFOOD EXPO NORTH AMERICA via PRNewswire)

SEAFOOD EXPO is the largest seafood trade event in North America, attracting more than 1,100 exhibitors and 20,000 seafood professionals each year. In addition to showcasing available seafood business opportunities in the community and on the working waterfront, Gloucester officials led by Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken will host a delegation of foreign trade, government and seafood processing industry representatives on a tour of Gloucester Harbor.

Harbor

 (image courtesy of Good Morning Gloucester)

“Our participation at this year’s SEAFOOD EXPO not only showcases the City of Gloucester’s commitment to attracting more job-creating seafood companies and innovators, it will allow job creators to see why Gloucester is the ideal place to expand or relocate,” said Mayor Romeo Theken. “Gloucester is deeply committed to a waterfront economy that is built on the foundation of fishing and seafood processing.”

"RYAN HUTTON/ Staff photo.

(image courtesy of Gloucester Daily Times via Gloucester Fisherman’s Wives Association)

The City’s participation includes exhibition at the show, participation in seafood cooking demonstrations using locally landed sustainable fish species, distribution of legendary local recipes from the Gloucester Fishermen’s Wives Association and literature about economic development opportunities.

Recipe book

(image courtesy of Amazon.com)

SEAFOOD EXPO and Seafood Processing North America, formerly called the International Boston Seafood Show and Seafood Processing America, is North America’s largest seafood exposition. Attending buyers represent importers, exporters, wholesalers, restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, and other retail and foodservice companies. Exhibiting suppliers offer the newest seafood products, processing and packaging equipment, and services available in the seafood market. The exposition is sponsored by the National Fisheries Institute. The trade show features numerous events, including an oyster shucking competition.

Gloucester to Receive 2015 Commonwealth Award For Leadership in Arts and Culture

The City of Gloucester was pleased to announce that the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) will recognize the community’s leadership in promoting arts and culture with the 2015 Commonwealth Award in the Creative Community category.  The Commonwealth Awards, which honor exceptional achievement in the arts, humanities, and sciences, will be presented on Tuesday, February 24th at a State House ceremony.

Rocky Nect gallery

(image courtesy of Rocky Neck Cultural District)

“Gloucester is extremely proud of its fishing identity and maritime heritage. We are equally proud to be recognized as a community that promotes and supports arts, culture, and the important contributions that artists make to our growing creative economy,” said Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken. “From the new Cultural Center at Rocky Neck to the renovation of the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester has emphasized cultural revitalization as a centerpiece of the City’s past, present and future.”

Waterfront skyline sunset

(image courtesy of Rocky Neck Cultural District)

In 2012 Gloucester’s Rocky Neck Cultural District became one of the first cultural districts designated in Massachusetts.  The same year, the Gloucester HarborWalk was unveiled as a showcase for the city’s working waterfront, beloved cultural institutions and world-class artists. In 2013, Gloucester became the first community in Massachusetts to be granted two cultural district designations with unanimous approval of the Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District by the MCC. Gloucester received the prestigious designations because of its unparalleled setting along the boundaries of the working waterfront and its rich concentration of museums, performing arts spaces, studios, galleries, and unique locally owned shops and restaurants.

CC inside

(image courtesy of Rocky Neck Cultural District)

Presented biennially since 1993, the Commonwealth Awards honor the extraordinary contributions made by the arts, humanities, and sciences to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in Massachusetts. Past winners include leading artists and scholars such as Yo-Yo Ma, Olympia Dukakis, and David McCullough; world-renowned institutions like Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and the Peabody Essex Museum, and communities that have made arts and culture central to their revitalization efforts.

The Commonwealth Awards ceremony is a free event that is open to the public. To register, please visit http://www.massculturalcouncil.org.

City secures $310,000 Coastline Protection grant to re-establish coastal floodplain in the Little River

Little River

The City of Gloucester Community Development Department has received a $310,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs to re-establish a floodplain and restore the habitat in the Little River near the West Gloucester Water Treatment Plant. Gloucester received a Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Coastal Resilience Grants Program as part of a larger initiative to reduce risks associated with coastal storms, erosion and sea level rise. The Commonwealth awarded a total of $1.5 million to seven cities and towns. City officials were thrilled with the announcement.

“The City of Gloucester understands the importance of proactively addressing the impacts of climate change,” said Mayor Carolyn A. Kirk. “Projects like the Little River floodplain project will ensure the maintenance of invaluable shoreline ecosystems for future generations to come.”

Little River 2

Image courtesy of Good Morning Gloucester

The City will use the CZM grant to re-establish a coastal floodplain by removing concrete structures and fill that dates back to the onset of operations at the Water Treatment Plant in West Gloucester. A new salt marsh will be created using bioengineering techniques, which will buffer the shoreline from future storm damage and improve the habitat for native species in the Little River estuary. The CZM Coastal Resilience Grants Program provides local communities with funding and technical resources for planning, feasibility assessment, design, permitting, construction and monitoring of green infrastructure projects that use natural approaches such erosion-control vegetation, restored coastal floodplains and new salt marsh habitats as viable alternatives to traditional structures like seawalls.

CZM logo

The Little River project is part of a broader effort by the City of Gloucester to comprehensively address potential climate change impacts on the city’s 62 miles of shoreline, which is subject to erosion and flooding during coastal storms. Earlier this year, the CZM awarded the City a $50,000 grant to develop a community-based Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The City used the funds to contract Consultants from Kleinfelder and The Woods Hole Group, who will utilize scenario planning to help the public and city officials understand the range of possible conditions and effect of actions and inaction.

Based on this planning and future public input, consultants and the City will develop recommendations in areas such as land use, capital planning, and infrastructure development.  The project is under the oversight of a working group comprised of representatives from city departments, the City Council, Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Clean Energy Commission.

Gloucester Harbor Plan Wins State Approval

Gloucester_MA_-_harbour

The City has learned that the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs approved Gloucester’s Municipal Harbor Plan on December 19th. The MHP represents progress following creation of the 2009 Plan. The new MHP is designed to provide a data-driven foundation for maritime economy expansion and framework for simplified permitting that will encourage new investment on the working waterfront.

State officials stated that the 2014 MHP “serves to promote and protect the core marine and water-dependent industrial composition of the DPA, while providing for the local goals of enhanced support of the commercial fishing industry, expansion of water-dependent industry, and continued allowances for flexibility in supporting DPA uses.”

The administration of Mayor Carolyn A. Kirk built the plan with the goal of providing more flexibility for waterfront growth while protecting the historic fishing industry.

The MHP was overwhelming endorsed by the Gloucester Harbor Plan Committee in July. The plan includes development tools to promote growth such as a simpler regulatory framework that will encourage a healthy blend of mixed-use and protection of the core water dependent industrial zone. It was based upon the City’s first-ever, in-depth, data-driven analysis of maritime opportunities (including detailed dockage and fishing vessel study conducted by the Fisheries Commission and Urban Harbors Institute, UMass Boston.)

The MHP seeks to leverage the data and a pending economic opportunity analysis of Gloucester’s fishery, tourism, and diversified/compatible working waterfront industries in the fishing port (opportunities such as marine genomics, robotics, and research) to spur continued investment in new businesses and job creation on the working waterfront.