Please join me in thanking The Salem News
and Newburyport Daily News
for their editorial
support (reprinted below) today. We greatly appreciate that our regional
newspapers recognize Essex Heritage's work and find our mission so valuable to
As the editorial states, we are
concerned about the President's proposed budget cuts, but we intend to fight to
restore them - as we have every year for the past eight years. If
you want to help us, let Senators Kerry and Brown and
Representatives Tierney and Tsongas know of your support for Essex Heritage.
Be assured that Essex Heritage will
continue to work on behalf of cultural heritage development for many more years
"Over the past decade the Essex National
Heritage Area has played a critical role in publicizing and preserving
the many resources - natural, cultural and historic - that make the
northeastern corner of Massachusetts one of the most livable places in
But budget cuts proposed by the Obama administration
threaten this agency's ability to maintain its mission, which ranges
from helping with revitalization efforts in the region's cities to
teaching children throughout the North Shore and Merrimack Valley about
their region's important role in the history of the United States.
The FY 2011 budget submitted by the White House would
cut funding for national heritage areas nationwide by half and eliminate
entirely two programs - Preserve America and Save America's Treasures -
that have been the source of funds for preservation projects here and
According to Annie Harris, who has served as the Essex
National Heritage Area's executive director since its inception, the
proposed funding cuts are an annual rite in Washington. And while each
area is authorized to receive up to $1 million annually, hers has
averaged $671,000 in recent years - not extravagant, but enough to
sustain its many activities including the very popular "Trails &
Sails" weekends held in the fall, which offer residents an opportunity
to visit attractions throughout the region at no cost.
Of more concern are the proposed wholesale cuts in
funding for preservation projects that can be key to rehabilitating a
key downtown building or saving a local treasure in danger of collapse.
Not only are these projects important in and of themselves, Harris
points out, but they can have significant economic benefit by creating
new construction jobs, stimulating downtown renewal and attracting more
visitors to the region.
These particular economic stimulus programs have been
in existence since before Barack Obama became president and certainly
should not be allowed to fold on his watch."