Municipal Matters

Affordable housing, a new school or something else? What’s next for the Coffin School?
Community resources, Local News, Marblehead Public Schools, Municipal Matters, Top Stories

Affordable housing, a new school or something else? What’s next for the Coffin School?

Town and school leaders are debating the fate of the Coffin School property on Turner Road. Built in 1948, Coffin closed in October 2021, and neighborhood students moved to the new Brown School on Baldwin Road. Initial discussions were that Coffin would be sold to a developer to create affordable housing.  The Coffin School was built in 1948 with an annex added in 1962. CURRENT PHOTO / LEIGH BLANDER It is the School Committee’s authority to determine if the Coffin property no longer has any educational use and should be handed over to the town. Until that happens, the town cannot move forward with plans to sell it. In recent meetings, School Committee Chair Sarah Fox spoke about demolishing the school and possibly holding onto the property. “Whether we sell it for afforda...
Local News, Municipal Matters

Marblehead Water Dept. to conduct hydrant flushing, flow testing on Sept. 27-28

The Marblehead Water Department will conduct its annual water main flushing program starting at 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. Flushing will take place from midnight to 7 a.m. Thursday on Green Street, Fox Run Lane, Pleasant Street (Spring Street to Washington Street), Roosevelt Avenue, Washington Street (Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Street), Curtis Street, Prospect Street, Mystic Road, Central Street, West Street and Maverick Street. The department said some properties may experience discolored water early Thursday morning and advised residents to run cold water for about 20 minutes until it clears. It said to avoid using hot water or doing laundry until the discoloration is gone. Residents can contact the water department at 781-631-0102 if the problem persists. The flushing is done t...
Local News, Municipal Matters, Public safety, Top Stories

More than a dozen capital projects underway or completed across Marblehead

The Select Board has approved several maintenance and improvement projects for town buildings and infrastructure in recent months — some of which have reached completion. A collage of the town's planned and completed infrastructure projects, funded by a $24.3 million debt-exclusion, capital improvement plans and COVID-19 relief dollars. CURRENT ILLUSTRATION / WILLIAM J. DOWD The projects are funded through a combination of sources, including Town Meeting appropriations, capital improvement budgets and federal COVID-19 relief dollars. However, many of the projects are funded by the $24.3 million debt-exclusion override voters passed in 2022. About half of that override — $12.5 million — is going toward repairing deteriorating roads and crumbling sidewalks. The town also allocated ...
Beacon Hill, Local News, Municipal Matters, Politics, Top Stories

Rep. Armini, Zisson advocate for three-year Select Board terms

State Rep. Jenny Armini told colleagues on Beacon Hill that the time has come for Marblehead to transition to three-year terms for its Select Board. At a Sept. 26 hearing, she emphasized that the constant campaigning required by one-year terms is detrimental. State Rep. Jenny Armini spoke in support of three-year Marblehead Select Board terms on Tuesday, Sept. 26. COURTESY PHOTO Town Meeting last May approved the change, but it needs to be approved by the Legislature to take effect. Testifying before the Legislature's Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, Armini pointed out that Marblehead is the only Massachusetts town that still elects its Select Board members to one-year terms. This annual election cycle, she said, hampers long-term planning. "Expertise...
Abbot Public Library, Culture, Local News, Municipal Matters

Abbot Public Library gets intern for Marblehead Room

Abbot Public Library announced its new Marblehead Room intern, Katie Galvin. This partnership with Salem State University took root in fall 2022 when Susan Edwards, university archivist, helped store the Marblehead Room contents during the library's renovation. Galvin, a Haverhill native, graduated from Assumption University in 2022 with a degree in history. She's now pursuing her master's in history with a public history graduate certificate at Salem State. Previously, Galvin interned at the American Independence Museum in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the Worcester Historical Museum. Her research on the Ursuline Convent riots is featured in the American Antiquarian Society's online database. She also contributed to the Slave Adverts 250 Twitter page. Galvin now works as a histori...
Beacon Hill, Local News, Municipal Matters, Politics, Top Stories, Travel

State law requires town to identify a total of 27 acres of denser zoning

The Marblehead Planning Board is exploring ways to comply with a state law that requires MBTA communities to zone for multifamily housing. Marblehead must zone for multifamily housing within 1/2 mile of at least one MBTA bus stop, like this one on Humphrey Street. CURRENT PHOTO / WILLIAM J. DOWD The mandate will help the state “meet our goals for housing, transportation and climate resiliency," explained Lily Linke of the Citizens Housing and Planning Association at a Planning Board meeting last week. She said cities and towns that don’t comply may lose state funding and grants and face enforcement in state and federal courts. "All MBTA communities must comply with the law,” Attorney General Andrea Campbell wrote in an August advisory. Marblehead has until the end of 2024 to z...
Life Style, Local News, Municipal Matters, Politics, Recreation, Top Stories

‘Less bridge, more rail trail’: Marblehead rethinks use of $1.4M COVID-19 funds

After hearing from several disappointed residents, town officials adjusted their plans to use $1.4 million in federal COVID-19 relief money to reconstruct two aging bridges along the Marblehead Rail Trail. A section of the Marblehead Rail Trail at Lead Mills to undergo improvements as part of a phased expansion plan funded by redirected federal COVID-19 relief money. CURRENT PHOTO / WILLIAM J. DOWD After hearing from residents that they viewed maintenance of the well-traversed trail itself a higher priority, the town adopted a “new approach,” Town Planner Becky Cutting and Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer reported to the Select Board Sept. 13. "What we're trying to do is make less bridge, more trail," Kezer said. The funds will now be used to construct smaller bridges to impr...
Local History, Local News, Municipal Matters, Uncategorized

Marblehead Historical Commission debuts Abbot Hall scavenger hunt

The Marblehead Historical Commission is launching a new scavenger hunt at Abbot Hall to engage children, families and visitors. The year-round activity will be featured in this fall's Trails and Sails events by the Essex National Heritage Area, Sept. 22-24. Participants can find clue cards and pencils in the Select Board Room. The hunt is free and open to all ages. The project was led by a team of volunteers, including newcomers to Marblehead. Jennie Cohen, who moved to town last year, used her media and website experience for the initiative. High school student Zara Monks also joined the team, creating answer code images for the hunt. Built in 1876, Abbot Hall serves as both the town hall and a repository for Marblehead's historical artifacts. The hunt will guide participant...
Education, Environment, Local News, Marblehead Public Schools, Municipal Matters, Top Stories

BRIGHT IDEA: Marblehead schools eyed again for solar power

The Marblehead Municipal Light Department will be reaching out to the town’s public schools before Thanksgiving to discuss new plans to install solar panels (photovoltaic arrays) with batteries at local schools. A look at potential solar panel installation in Marblehead schools, contributing about 2.3% of the 2022 energy supply with solar arrays and batteries.  At a recent meeting, MMLD General Manager Joseph Kowalik said the Light Commission is evaluating solar PV arrays for six schools, and on-site batteries at four of those buildings. He said adding batteries (which would be on school grounds, but not in school buildings) will mean that the stored energy can go straight back into the schools and avoid transmission costs. “We have been involved in high-level discussions with th...
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