Gloucester Tourism transitioning to even better future

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

 

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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.

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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.

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“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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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