Essex TA Report| Feb 24


Board of Selectmen’s Meeting of February 6, 2023

Report covers from January 21, 2023, to February 3, 2023

Continued Preparation for Federal Funding for Apple Street Project

At the last meeting, the Board agreed that specific easement packages for easements sought from all seven Apple Street Roadbed Elevation and Culvert Replacement Project abutters should be prepared and discussed with the abutters as soon as possible.  Our engineering consultant expects to have those available for us to distribute to project abutters during the week of February 6, 2023, and we will be forwarding when received.

The Board also agreed that the Town should apply for State funding via the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant program to cover the portion of the project (10%) that Federal funding (90%) will not cover.  The MVP grant coordinator has been consulted about the Town’s potential application via the MVP Expression of Interest (EOI) process and we expect to have a more detailed discussion with MVP concerning our possible application by late-February.

Further, the Board asked that need for a scenic road hearing before the Planning Board be addressed with the Planning Board Chairman as soon as possible.  Our engineering consultant and Town Counsel will need to be involved in that hearing and our consultant expects to be ready to support the hearing relatively soon (presently preparing graphics that will help illustrate changes to stone walls and removal and replacement of trees).

Massachusetts Downtown Initiative (MDI) Placemaking Grant Update

Our State-assigned placemaking technical assistance consultant, Civic Space Collaborative (CSC), held a meeting on January 30, 2023, to review information collected to date, including a reflection on a recent tour through the downtown area. Chairman Pereen, Town Planner Dana Menon, Economic Development Committee Chairman Harris and the TA were in attendance, along with members of the Essex business community.  The MDI grant program has awarded the Town $25,000 of CSC’s time to develop a plan that will help unify the various public spaces in our downtown area to create a more cohesive “brand” and sense of place.  At the meeting, CSC laid out a variety of program areas that need to be considered.  The group agreed that an overall theme for cohesive landscaping required immediate attention, since the hope is to install new plantings in the downtown area this coming spring.

Urban Agenda Grant Off-Season Event Project Update

The Town’s event planning consultant, Civic Space Collaborative (CSC), has continued to pull together an off-season event that is designed to drive business to downtown Essex.  The Urban Agenda Grant is providing the Town with $51,000 for this event and CSC held a meeting on January 31, 2023, to update progress and to focus on the event in more detail. Chairman Pereen, Town Planner Dana Menon, Economic Development Committee Chairman Harris and the TA were in attendance, along with members of the Essex business community.  At the meeting, the group settled upon an event schedule of May 19-21, 2023, with promotion and related events starting earlier in the month.  The event will definitely have a spring theme and a final name for the event is in its final stages of development.

Town Administrator Leave

The TA was out of the office, on leave, on both February 2 and 3, 2023.

This report is available at on the morning after any regularly scheduled Essex Board of Selectmen’s Meeting.

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