SCNA Board 10/13/20 


Gabe Ciociola, Jane Carroll, Jen Hagar, Dennis Maroney, Milo Martinez, Lynn Murray, Jenn Santo


Elizabeth Aberg, Lesley Harrington, Susie Moulton; (Members – Friends of Salem Common)

The meeting was called to order at 7:30.

Friends of Salem Common Presentation

Susie Moulton presented a synopsis of a Conditions Report.  The report does not address the Playground, Fence, Bandstand or the Arch but rather focuses on the Lighting, Soil, Trees, Trash/Recycling receptacles and Benches.  The report presented recommendations and estimated costs. The report is 156 pages in length including  a 28-page executive summary.

Dennis thanked the group for presenting the highlights from their Conditions report.

President’s Report

  • Halloween SCNA sponsored activity.  It was agreed by the Board that any such activity was not suitable for the Common neighborhood due to the current conditions.
  • Litter.  Trash rapidly accumulating along with numerous downed branches.
  • Parking Issues.  Concerns over lack of seasonal parking signage on area streets with permanent signage to deter non-residents from parking.  There has been a good deal of ticketing and towing to address illegal parking.  Update: Councilor Madore has been in contact with City Parking director.  A sawhorse with signage has been placed at the bottom of Williams Street.
  • Halloween Backdrops.  Installed by the Creative Collective as a means to siphon away tourists from the pedestrian mall when it becomes too crowded.  The Board felt that it would be beneficial if there was advance communication from the City to SCNA about such activity.  There continues to be concerns about potential lack of social distancing around these activities.
  • Facebook posting rules.  The Board reiterated our policy that postings must pertain to the Common and not be political in nature.
  • Stop Sign. Requesting sign intersection of WSE/Andrew St in discussion with Councilor Madore.
  • Crosswalk. Creating one at Essex St connecting to Narbonne House in discussion w/Knowlton.
    • Update: Crosswalk in place with very positive community feedback – thanks to all involved!

Dennis will cover the NIAC meeting.  Update: Mayor attended & emphasized that Salem would take all steps necessary to reduce Halloween seasonal crowds

Common Updates & Issues

Jenn Santo removed the spray paint from the playground equipment and continues to be very vigilant about graffiti.  She has also contacted Claire @ Hawthorne Hotel regarding the need to repair the white holiday lights as the Hawthorne has done in the past.

The blue signs that appeared on the Common recently had been technically approved by the City over a year ago. Their placement is not ideal as they are not easy to spot as they are not at eye level.  Specific “No Smoking” signs have yet to be placed in the playground area.

Lawn.  Ant & mushroom infestation issues in discussion with DPS & Councilor Madore.

Landscaping.  Placing rose bushes and flower beds by Arch & Bandstand is in planning process with City.


Jenn Santo to contact Tony O’Donnell and Biff Michaud on their donation of annual holiday decorations. This is a long-standing tradition and one that is seasonal in nature. The decorating by volunteers will take place the Sunday following Thanksgiving on 11/29.

The Board approved the expenditure of $290 for the salemcommon.com domain name.

Update: Milo has updated salemcommon.org to feature merchandise & donation features.


Jen continues to produce a great newsletter and is happy to receive suggestions for content. Update: photo contest cancelled for this Halloween.

Washington Arch Restoration:

  • The explanatory sign text/graphics have been approved by Patti Kelleher and Jen Ratliff
  • We are awaiting feedback from the PEM meeting that was held in September with S. Mallory.
  • Landscaping design along with updated rendering are in the review process.
  • Community Grant process for brick pad underneath Arch being worked on with City.

Peter LaChappelle’s letter to the editor regarding the history of the Common including  Arch: (Peter served on our Board & began the SCNA’s ongoing restoration of the Washington Arch.)

October 9, 2020

To the editor:

I enjoyed Kate Fox’s column “Finding the magic in Salem during a pandemic.” I have been walking the Salem Common since March 2020. As I walk around, I think of the history within a half-mile circle.

First, the Hawthorne Hotel. Since July 1925, the grand, elegant, historic hotel of Salem. The great vision of shareholders from 1925 to the present. A place for guests to rest, and many great figures in our history — presidents, authors, movie stars — used the hotel as a stage to address the public.

The next stop is the “Java Head House,” used in the silent movie “Java Head.” The film is now lost, a maritime tale using Derby Wharf and the house near the Common. I passed McIntire’s Washington Arch. I think of the 1630s birthplace of the National Guard.  I see President George Washington in 1789. He is greeting his fellow soldiers. Telling them to put their hats on, so as not to get a cold.  To the Joseph Story house, and the early courts that have made our nation a nation of laws.  Now to the 1850 fence and gate; the new industrial age comes to Salem. Stand and view Roger Conant andthink of the settlers who camefrom Cape Ann to Salem in the 1620s.

Tothe right, the story of the 1692 witchcraft hysteria is told at the Salem Witch Museum. The poor victims.  Now, I am back to the Hawthorne Hotel ballroom. Thinking of all the happiness, weddings, dances, rallies, events of the human heart and mind that took place under its roof. And yes, of my retirement party in 2010.  Oh, what a great time to travel, in a half-mile walk. Just think about what we can find in the rest of the city of Salem.

Peter LaChapelle

Treasurer’s report

Total Funds: $22,985.31

  • Checking $10,123.12
  • Savings $3,009.50
  • Arch Fund $9,852.69

Membership Total of 47: 8 Businesses, 22 Families and 17 Individuals

  • 1 new business membership $100

Incurred Expenses:  $138.66

  • $138.66 Barbara Swartz for fall mums (check #1567)


Our October Board meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM

The next Board Meeting will be held on November 10th at 7:30. Location: Online meeting. Our speaker will be Councilor Christine Madore.