August 14, 2017
Donna D. Holaday
The events in Charlottesville, VA has deeply affected so many as we witnessed the horrific events of a group of white supremacists unfold over the weekend causing senseless deaths and injury. I am very proud of our community and the people who came out to stand in solidarity against hatred and bigotry. Thank you to John Giordano and RISE for organizing the candlelight vigil last night at Joppa Park. We, as a community, must unite to do all we can to advocate for diversity, tolerance and acceptance.
Governor Baker called yesterday to provide reassurance that they are diligently preparing with Public Safety for a rally this Saturday at Boston Common billed as the Second Boston Free Speech Rally, another white nationalist group. More details will be posted on Facebook as details emerge.
Public Safety: We are very cognizant of the level of violence that is happening within our country and others. Lately the use of vehicles as weapons has been very disturbing. Every year before our festivals, Chief LeClair, Emergency Management Director, organizes a tabletop activity with city staff, public safety, EMS, AJH, and MEMA to review a potential crisis situation. This years’ incident focused on a vehicle plowing into Market Sq. Each team member reviews their role in a critical situation and how we can ensure continued safety of all attending events.
Yankee Homecoming: Congratulations to Robin Johnson, 2017 Chairperson and all the volunteers that made our 60th homecoming a great week. We will be meeting in the near future to debrief and I welcome any input from City Councilors regarding the festival.
Fire Department: 16 of our State Firefighters are assisting with the massive wildfire problem in British Columbia; Connor Clancy from our Fire Department is one joined the Wildfire Crew. http://www.fireground360.com/radio-chatter/live-blog-mass-wildfire-crew-bc-canada-deployment.
Intermodal Facility Garage: Thank you for postponing the vote to Aug. 28th due to the absence of two City Councilors this evening. We have devoted nearly 10 years to this effort and a full Council to vet this vote on construction is critical.
- The Purchase & Sale Agreement was signed on August 1st, Finance Director is preparing the escrow funds.
- John Burke’s expanded scope of work contract has been signed for $14,750; we will confirm a start date shortly.
- Epsilon Associates who will be conducting a further Air Quality Study were able to complete a modeling analysis of the emissions from the exhaust of vehicles moving and idling within the new facility using a dispersion modeling AERMOD. The report is attached.
- The $1.5M from the Federal Transportation Administration was transferred to the MVRTA last week.
- MVRTA set up a training on July 20th on the Federal requirements and Uniform Act with Attorney Wendy Lee for all principles involved in this project.
- Relocation efforts are proceeding well with Fuel and OR Colan Associates.
- Recent complaint filed by an abutter will be addressed with legal in executive session with the City Council in the next meeting or shortly thereafter; there is no merit to this filing.If there are any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.DPS: Water/Sewer: studies to address capacity and future use are expected to be completed by the end of September.PI Hydrant Project: Public meeting to review the project and timelines is scheduled for Wednesday, August 23rd at 6 pm at PITA Hall.PI Air Vac System: Alarming of the system is completed with appreciation to MEMA for funding; MEMA will be onsite Wednesday for final inspection.AECOM: Just completed compiling data from the Evergreen drill and the information will be presented to the Water and Sewer Commission on Wed. night Aug. 16th at 5 pm.Whittier Bridge Project: local communities received an update on the project status last month with delays resulting from the failed pier work. The completion date is now July 1, 2018. We are finishing our mitigation agreement with Walsh/McCourt for the use of city land for staging which includes in part the paraglas barrier to the shared used path, added work to the north-side wall, sidewalk on Spofford; the final agreement will be shared with the Council.
- Energy & Sustainability:
- Dredging Projects: Secretary of Housing & Economic Development, Jay Ash, was in Beverly last week to hold a listening session on state funding for dredging projects. The Merrimac River was last dredged in 2011 and requires regular maintenance to keep the channel open and address the shoaling, silt, sandbars etc. Regional partnerships are key and the Merrimack River Beach Alliance will continue to research and advocate for this safety and economic need.
- Waterfront Trust/NRA/Settlors/City: We are making very positive progress in this representative group of stakeholders. We are planning one more meeting to review a draft of the revised trust documents on the 22nd and then plan to hold full board public meetings in September.
- Harbormaster & Commission: The recent development of floating homes and houseboats on the river has raised concerns with those owning the floating homes as well as abutters. The Harbor Commission and City have been studying other community responses, ordinances, restrictions, c.91 etc. We hope to present an ordinance to the City Council early fall.
South End Organics Pilot: For nearly two years, the City has been running an organics (food) waste diversion pilot program in the city’s southend, sponsored in part by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Through surveys and other feedback, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. The project will continue as a self-pay through Black Earth Haulers for $1.88/week depending on number of subscribers.
The city recently received a grant called The Recycling IQ Kit through the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to drastically improve residential recycling. The grant will help educate residents to be sure to include everything that should go in recycling and nothing that should not.
The streetlight conversion project is underway and about 30-35 % complete at this point.
Newburyport has just released an RFP to solicit proposals from solar photovoltaic installers and air source heat pump installers to participate in the 2017 Solarize Massachusetts Plus Pilot Program. The Program is run in partnership with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Department of Energy Resources. The program pairs the Solarize Mass model with an additional technology offering. The program is a group purchasing model that includes a tailored community-based marketing effort within selected Massachusetts communities, including Newburyport.
Transportation Committee of the EAC
A group of concerned citizens approached the city about creating a transportation committee to look at reducing our carbon footprint from transportation into, out of, and through the city. My recommendation, was to form a transportation subcommittee of the energy advisory committee that will be looking at all of the strategies outlined in the clean energy road map and master plan to address these issues in order to increase walkability and biking while further reducing vehicle traffic and associated greenhouse gasses. Parking and public transportation are key components of that reduction.