Stacia Kraft Answers Our Questions
Collins Cove Improvements, Bridge Street Neck Zoning, Historic Cemeteries
Question 1 – Collins Cove, the cove itself and the park, is a great neighborhood and city asset. Are there any plans to direct funding and resources there for park improvements, to encourage boating use, and for flood mitigation?
Collins Cove was the beach that I spent a lot of time enjoying in the nineties. At the time, local culture was divided between old timers that enjoyed sunning themselves and newbies that thought the waters were polluted. Personally, I loved walking my dog and seeing the piping plovers and sea lavender that grew along the tidal beach. While I lived on Arbella Street there were plans in place to connect the by- pass bike path to Collins Cove, and there were also plans to build a kayak launch on the west side of the horse shoe of the park. On the east side of the horseshoe, there was access to the waterfront behind the housing complex, but these connections remain incomplete today. A coastal resiliency project has recently been completed, and I am looking forward to the next phase. Collins Cove is one of those Salem treasures that has much more potential to unlock.
Question 2 – Bridge Street from Webb Street to the Veterans Memorial Bridge has been undergoing a lot of small privately financed development over the last couple of years. The zoning on that stretch of road is a seemingly hodge-dodge mix that includes most of our defined zoning uses. Is this zoning a benefit or detriment to the neighborhood and to the the city?
I just attended the recent MAPC Bridge Street Neck Imagine session which was attended by residents and business owners from the neighborhood. It was notable that the overwhelming majority of the participants supported the existing mix of zoning. They were fearful that a change in zoning would enable high rise construction that they see on Rantoul Street in Beverly. Business owners feel that they benefit from a mix of business and residential. And if we are serious about being a walkable/bikable city, then businesses must be located in the neighborhoods which is prescribed by this mixed use zoning.
Question 3 – Ward 2 is home to three of our four historic cemeteries, three of which are open to the public year round. These cemeteries have been poorly maintained over the years. What can, or should the city do in order to properly care for these historic spots and preserve them for the future?
If you have ever looked at old photographs, you will see incredible pictures of the greenhouse near the chapel of Greenlawn cemetery which has been replaced by a big metal industrial building. It is really unfortunate, and reminds me that we need to be better stewards of our rich heritage. These sites have value that we may not yet understand, and if we don’t protect them they will go the way of the greenhouse. The good news is that Salem has a 2002 Burial Ground Planning Project and we have allocated over $350, 000 in CPA funds for preservation work which has been carried out by stone conservators from Monument Conservation Collaborative. However, the city needs to have an effective maintenance plan for streets, sidewalks, municipal buildings and parks which would include our historic cemeteries.
I would hope that part of this planning project would be setting parameters that would allow visitors to enjoy and learn from these sites, but at the moment we don’t seem to have them in place and so some of the cemeteries will be closed during October.