Here is a press release my office sent out this week.
The City of Melrose was recently awarded a $200,000 grant from Governor Patrick and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental affairs as part of The Our Common Backyards Grant Program.
“I want to thank Governor Patrick, Senator Lewis, and Representative Brodeur for their efforts in helping Melrose receive these highly competitive funds. This grant program is a tremendous opportunity to rebuild the most used playground in the City, one that serves both our two-to-five-year old population and five-to-12-year-olds. The committee put together to oversee this project includes abutters, parents, and a landscape architect, and they have identified a vast number of safety and equipment improvements,” said Mayor Dolan.
“The Melrose Common is the central playground in Melrose and the most used,” said Ward 6 Alderman Peter Mortimer. “It serves a variety of ages and is a gathering place not only for the neighborhood but for the whole city. This investment will make our playground a safer and more inviting place for children and their families.”
The Common Playground Committee has been working with Johnathan Law, landscape architect for Carol Johnson Associates, to create an experience for children and adults like no other in Melrose.
The playground at The Common was quickly identified as the ideal location, according to Dolan. “As part of the grant requirement, playgrounds attached to schools were not eligible for funding. In addition, the Recreation Department services all neighborhoods in Melrose from the Common with the majority of their programming.”
In addition to new and upgraded equipment, the new Common Playground will include rubberized safety surfaces instead of mulch, an open plaza style entrance, bike racks, benches, additional picnic areas, new landscaping, and a cement path connecting the playground to the basketball court. No changes will occur at the very popular bike track area.
On June 4, 2014, the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts School Building Authority voted to invite the City of Melrose into the Accelerated Repair Program for a window and door replacement project at the Herbert Clark Hoover Elementary School. This program will provide 50.79% matching funds to the City for costs to replace the windows and doors at the building.
“The new windows will enhance the Hoover School and create a better environment for learning,” said Ward 7 Alderman Scott Forbes. “This is an excellent investment in our schools, as children will benefit from it for years to come.”
The Hoover Elementary School was built in 1965, and the windows are original to the building and in poor condition. The existing windows are single-pane and cannot be made energy efficient without replacement. The windows are covered with metal bars, which creates safety concerns and is not reflective of a school environment. The classrooms also contain opaque glass block windows that restrict natural light. The project will remove all of the window bars and replace the windows with new double-pane, thermally insulated windows that maximize the amount of natural light and that can be opened and closed, to enhance comfort in the classrooms. The front entry will be made more welcoming, and all of the doors will be assessed and replaced as necessary.
To accelerate the project, the MSBA procured Design Services for Accelerated Repair Projects and has assigned a Project Manager (Strategic Building Solutions) and an Architect (ICON Architecture) to our Project. The Board of Aldermen allocated funding for the feasibility and schematic design phase of the project last month, and work is now getting underway. The City anticipates completing schematic design by December 3, 2014, to allow the Project to be approved for matching funds at the MSBA Board Meeting on January 14, 2015.
For the month of October, the Melrose Whole Foods Market will be collecting money at the cash register for the Melrose High School Band. Just rounding up your total to the nearest dollar helps a lot—it all adds up over the course of a month! Every penny helps keep the Melrose High School band program marching along at football games, parades, community events—such as the Memorial Day Parade—and competitions.
I want to thank the Golden Living Community Support Initiative for their recent donation of $1,000 to the Melrose Friends of the Aging-Milano Senior Center, and I especially want to commend Paula Weiner for the part she played in bringing this grant to Melrose. Golden Living’s Community Support Initiative grants are charitable contributions given in support of worthy nonprofit community or regional organizations. Since the program’s inception in 2005, more than 1,689 grants have been awarded, contributing $1,617,000 into local communities the company serves.
Melrose Friends of the Aging, The Milano Senior Center, Golden LivingCenter-Melrose, City and State officials hope this to be a stepping stone as they continue to work
together to provide quality care and services to our elders. As was best said by Executive Director, Ron Doty: “Together we can make a difference one person, one family, one community at a time!”
The Town of Wakefield and City of Melrose Health Departments announced today that they have been awarded a $40,000 grant each year for three years from the Patrick Administration. The award is part of more than $1 million in Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership grants awarded to 22 programs across the Commonwealth. The grants are designed to promote opportunities for healthy eating and active living in the places people live, learn, work and play. Mass in Motion is a program of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).
“These grants enable cities and towns to make healthy eating and active living easier for people to achieve,” said DPH Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett. “Grantees such as Melrose and Wakefield are working to make the healthy choice the easy choice by ensuring the availability of healthy affordable foods and promoting opportunities for physical activity.”
The grant funding will be used to assist Melrose and Wakefield in creating and sustaining changes that make it easy for people to eat better and move more. Healthy Dining and Healthy Corner Store programs already established in both communities will continue, making it easier for residents to access fresh fruits and vegetables when eating out. This grant will also allow residents interested in walking and biking in the City and Town to have a voice.
“We are thrilled to be able to help residents in making the healthy choice, the easy choice. Adding more bike racks in prime locations and having teens involved in cooking and promoting healthy family eating is our future,” said Kara Showers, Mass in Motion-Melrose/Wakefield grant coordinator. “A special thank you to Senator Jason Lewis, Representative Paul Brodeur, Mayor Robert Dolan, Town Administrator Steve Maio. Health Director Ruth Clay and the local Boards of Health for their support.”
The Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership Initiative enables cities and towns in Massachusetts to implement local policy, systems and environmental change strategies to prevent and reduce obesity and the chronic diseases that result from being overweight. Interventions will focus on healthy eating, active living, and promotion of healthy and safe physical environments. The initiative is led by municipalities with the creation of a multi-sector partnership to develop and implement the community-level strategies.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, and the consumption of healthy foods is important in maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk for chronic disease and associated risk factors, including hypertension, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and some cancers. Through Mass in Motion, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health is working with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to create conditions that make it easier to be active and eat healthy food.
If you went by City Hall today, you may have noticed a flock of pink flamingoes on the front lawn. No, we aren’t turning it into a wildlife preserve—it’s time again for the Melrose Education Foundation’s Pink Flamingoes fund-raiser. From now till October 10, you can order a flock of pink flamingoes to be placed on any Melrose lawn. The cost is $25, $50, or $100, depending on the size of the flock. The Melrose Education Foundation does some great work, including holding forums such as last winter’s School Budget Forum, co-sponsoring the school science fairs, and administering the Melrose Education Foundation grants. This is a great opportunity to contribute to a worthy cause and have some fun besides!
This year, 454 schools throughout the Commonwealth attained the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Level 1 rating, which means they are maintaining high MCAS scores and closing the “proficiency gap” between high needs students and the general population. That benchmark is becoming more difficult to achieve, as the number of Level 1 schools is down from 510 two years ago, according to the Boston Globe.
I want to give special congratulations to the Lincoln and Hoover schools, which have been named Commendation Schools by the DESE. While many schools throughout the state were not able to narrow that proficiency gap, these two schools exceeded expectations. There were only 43 Commendation Schools this year, and Melrose is one of only a handful of communities to have more than one.
In addition, I want to commend the schools that achieved the Level 1 rating: the Hoover, the Lincoln, the Roosevelt, the Winthrop, and Melrose High School. Congratulations in particular to Melrose High School for attaining Level 1 status. Last year they came so close, and this year they achieved their goal! Our teachers, administrators, students, and families should be commended for their achievements.
I want to extend my personal congratulations to the Melrose High School students who were inducted into the National Honor Society last Monday. They have worked hard for this distinction and they are to be commended.