SCNA Board 9/10/19

Present:        Jane Carroll, Gabe Ciociola, Dennis Maroney, Milo Martinez, Lynn Murray, Jenn Santo

Guest:            Paul DePrey: Superintendent Salem & Sagus National Historic Sites National Park Service (NPS)

Paul DePrey – NPS

Overview.  We live in a significantly historic part of the country as all of Essex County is a national heritage area containing a high-density amount of national historic landmarks.  National historic landmarks are significant and are just one level below a national park.

Some good landmark examples are House of the Seven Gables, East India Marine Hall, Bowditch House, etc.

Our local National Historic Area was designated by Congress for three reasons: Maritime Heritage; Industrialization (Saugus Iron Works/Merrimac River Mills and Early Settlement

(early period up until 1710 – Gedney House example).

National Guard Story. The foundational history of the National Guard began in Salem.  This story transcends local value and rises to national stature.  The Salem Common’s role as military parade ground for tactics, training, etc. has yet to be fully explored. For example, there used to be a powder house on the Common where the military stored guns, powder, etc.

The SCNA and NPS both currently support the annual Guard muster. Working with Jay Overton of MA Guard there is an interest in establishing a MA National Guard museum at the former Armory where NPS hopes to develop a Guard exhibit for April 2020.  In August, there is a National Guard national conference in Boston making a connection with Salem & the SCNA a natural fit.  Paul will be happy to introduce us to Jay and his team.

Next Steps.The NPS cannot say how the Common should be managed but is happy to offer their national perspective to our discussions.  NPS works closely with the City of Salem and recognizes them as the titleholder to the Common.  The Revolution 250/Salem 400 initiative is a good example of this partnership.

Having a cultural landscape conversation is always a good way to get the community involved.

Both visitor and local perspectives can be taken into account.  Usage is an evolving process.

Paul cited historic examples of no trees on Common; the Fence being made of wood & closer in; multiple buildings on Common including a school; today’s playground & bandstand; etc.

Paul and his colleague Gavin – who lives in the SCNA area – are more than willing to help the SCNA community in any way they can.  We look forward to working with them and the NPS closely on an ongoing basis.  We thanked Paul for sharing his thoughts with us.

President’s Report

Dennis reported that there was positive feedback from the meeting with HSI and the Salem Preservation Planner.  We are waiting to hear back on how they would like to proceed likely in November after October festivities are over.

The Common Fence Restoration is moving along – sections by Hawthorne and Washington Square East will be removed in September and reinstalled in April 2020.  This was reconfirmed by Jenna Ide via email.  Update: removal now moved to later in fall.

The renovations to the Bandstand were discussed with the Planning Department.  Phase I to include hardscaping and hatch work was scheduled to begin in August.  Phase II to occur in 2020 subject to funding.  Update: Phase 1 work likely to move to 2020.

The No Smoking ordinance for all parks is still in Committee but expected to pass.  The No Smoking signs are pending and the Common should be the first park to receive them.

The next NIAC meeting is on September 11thUpdate: NIAC 9/11 minutes circulated.  Next meeting is scheduled for 10/9/19.

City Arborist Bob LeBlanc may attend our October Board meeting.  Extensive tree, lawn, edging and branch removal is needed.  Update: Bob confirmed for 10/8/19 Board meeting.

New Programs from the City:

  • Solarize MA Plus – they will hold a neighborhood event in the fall.

The “Kids Fest” sponsored by Fiesta has received City approval.  EJ Dean has suggestions including carving, magician etc. which may require follow up from the Events Committee.

The Vintage Lawn Party was a huge success – kudos to Milo and the Events Committee! Jen will send the SCNA newsletter to those who signed up at the Lawn Party.

The League of Women Voters is interested in having the SCNA sponsor a debate after the September primary with the remaining at-large candidates.

Arch Committee

The interpretive sign will cost $1,100 to create with an optional $600 for graphic design services. Gabe and Milo working on graphic images for sign.  Gabe in touch with Phil Lowe for estimates on carving work.

Gabe drafted initial sign text content and passed on to Dennis for revisions.  Lynn will work with that version and previous material created by Ann Sousa and Peter LaChapelle. Update:  PEM has expressed interest in supporting Arch initiative.

Treasurer’s Report as of 9/10/19

  • Savings:         $3,006.24
  • Arch Fund:    $9,092.20
  • Checking:      $10,443.66
  • Total Funds: $22,542.10

New Memberships: $182.08

  • 4 Family, 1 Individual


  • $200 (lawn party vendors)

Incurred Expenses:

  • Lawn party posters: $29.33 (check #1593)
  • Dan Gabel Band:      $625 (check #1594) + $50 other expenses
  • Dave’s Septic:          $150

Anticipated Expenses:

  • Arch Explanatory Sign: $1,110-$1,710 (estimate if graphic services needed)
  • Holiday Concert Band: $750 

Membership Committee

  • Gabe has reached out to all people who left emails on our Facebook page to join SCNA.
  • Greg Howard, a revolutionary war reenactor, has offered to do the 4thof July reading.

Common Committee

  • Playground.  Rubber surfacing in bad shape because of sticks, stones etc.
  • Water Fountain.  The lower dog level of the water fountain is clogged up.
  • Grass.  Has been burned where sprinkler system has not come on – a continuing problem.
  • Mowing.  Areas around Fence have not been properly edged and trimmed.
  • Trees/Branches.  Extensive work needed which has only just begun.
  • Garbage Cans.  Extra ones needed by Bandstand.

Events Committee

Milo reported that the Yard Sale on the Common will be held on Saturday, 9/21 from 9 am-1pm.  The cost for a table is $25.Update: Very successful event enjoyed by all.

 Update: World’s largest Ouija Board on Common on Oct. 12that 1 PM

 Kids Fest is last two weekends of October and volunteers are needed. Update: Milo has posted request for volunteers help with this event to Facebook.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 pm.  The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 8th at 7:30 pm.