PNA March Meeting

PNA Meeting at the On Point space

PNA Meeting at the On Point space

The Point Neighborhood Association holds meetings on the last Monday of each month, recently at the On Point center on Leavitt Street. All are welcome!

Last Monday’s meeting began with refreshments and a review of our local government. The main guest was Larry Ramdin of the Health Department, who continued the effort to distribute information. (The lack of knowledge of services offered, from available loans to the dual stream mandatory recycling system, persists as a barrier to civic involvement.) Larry noted certain rights:

“If you have an issue that your landlord is not taking care of, call my department.  Everyone is entitled to good housing.”


“Due to people working long hours! people don’t get to vaccination hours; we want to plan services around what will work for people.”

An example of a city service designed to meet people’s needs is the consolidation of street sweeping with electronic waste, like television sets, pick up; for the effort to work, residents need to be aware of the service offered, Larry noted.  Lucy and the PNA said that as soon as a date is set, there will be no problem in spreading the word. When a resident asked for street sweeping to occur per side of the street, rather than on both sides at once, which causes parking hardships in the already dense area, Councilman Bob McCarthy noted that in the Point neighborhood, the City of Salem also employs leaf-blower services to gather sidewalk debris. This service is unique for The Point and precludes the possibility of one sided street sweeping. The service also only happens twice a season, unless specially scheduled for more times on a street by street basis.

In general wind blown trash is a problem; as are absentee landlords. But the combination results in a general lack of accountability. Larry suggested that devoted citizens could instill a sense of responsibility by persistently picking up trash, especially in front of neighborhood members that may have dropped the rubbish. The amorphous, but necessary desire is a change in behavior of some of the heaviest users of the neighborhood’s public space. I noted that the Palmer Street “Imagine a Lot” project did instill a civic awareness, at least on that lot durning the time of the project since the community participated in its making.

There are many efforts to “clean up” The Point, including proposed strategic development on Congress Street. This Thursday, the North Shore Community Development Coalition organizes the fun and effective Youth Get To The Point Day. Cleaning up a neighborhood is a form of stewardship, perhaps the gateway practice to deeper forms of citizenship too. For clean up problems on all days, make sure to contact Larry and the Health Department: (978) 741-1800, or walk over to 120 Washington Street, fourth floor.

Joint the next PNA meeting, April 28 at 6pm, for the Neighborhood Launch Party to implement the information gleaned during last year’s Point Visioning and Action Plan.

Point Neighborhood Association Meeting at the Lot!


On Friday, September 27th, the Point Neighborhood Association held their monthly meeting at the Palmer Street lot, outside and in the fresh autumn air. Salem Public Space was happy to host!


There was quite a turnout, and not enough chairs, but a lot of energy! A couple people were encouraged to join the group as they happened to walk past us.


There were many announcements and activities in the ad-hoc, bright surroundings. 04

The city’s new liason to the Latino community, Isabel Vargas, introduced herself and her new role in City Hall. Claudia Chuber from the PEM spoke of the upcoming exhibit Beyond Human: Artist-Animal Collaborations.


PNA president Lucy Corchado and councilman Robert McCarthy spoke about getting out the vote for local elections; while Point residents have strong turnout for national elections, local elections see fewer numbers.06As night fell, one resident pointed out the street lights that needed to be fixed – luckily the Councilman was there! Yet another benefit of having the meeting in the neighborhood, with the sound of the park across the way, people walking by and observing, even if they didn’t participate vocally. A strong, visible presence, would in time encourage more participation. And then, of course, the famous pastelitos hot from the Tropical market a block away – they were gone in less than two minutes!

The Point Action Plan

draft page 1_Page_1

Read and comment on the Point Action Plan! After many focus group meetings and two large community meetings, the MAPC, The CIty of Salem, the PNA, and the NSCDC have released a Draft Plan for Public Review.

It is lengthy, but go to the table of contents, find what you care about and comment below – the plan creators will hear your comments!


Especially Interesting are the maps generated during round table discussions. Salem Public Space Project helped to lead the Open Space discussion – what are your ideas?

Put Your Ideas on the Map!

Put Your Ideas on the Map!

draft page 1_Page_2 draft page 1_Page_4


Neighborhood Meeting: A Visioning Plan for The Point

Point Visioning aerial map with Open Space Intervention Dots

Point Visioning aerial map with Open Space Intervention Dots

The final meeting to discuss and gather more useful information for The Point Visioning Plan was held Monday, May 13 at the Salem Charter School in Shetland Park. Many came to discuss subjects dear to their hearts in small groups over large aerial prints of their neighborhood. Talks ranged from safety to economics to voting. I helped facilitate the discussion on parks and open space.

The aerial map at the center instantly engaged participants to question the neighborhood boundaries defined at the map. After disputes and some confusion we determined community borders were at least as fluid as a river’s banks. The map was soon covered with blue dots signifying points of intervention. Suggestions were numerous, imaginative, and practical: a boardwalk around Shetland Park, better lighting at Mary Jane Lee Park, consistent (and persistent) clean up for Peabody, Ward, and Harbor Streets, more community gardens, and moving the Salem Farmers’ Market to Lafayette Park for a more central location between Downtown and the Point.

A Young Participator

A Young Participator

Participation came from all ages!

At the end of an evening full of imaginative talk filled with anticipation for the future, and a feeling of climbing momentum, the next step for the Point Visioning Plan (so well organized and implemented by MAPC, the NSCDC, the Point Neighborhood Association, and the City of Salem) was announced:

The final plan will be posted on the city website.


Information gathered will be used to determine the allocation of moneys and effort.

A seemingly anticlimactic end for a process began that should not end, since a neighborhood’s work is never done, only sustained!

Handouts for a draft of the Visioning Plan were included and quite informative; so many potential projects and paths to follow!(The final draft will also be posted on this site.)Point Visioning Plan Draft 2013.05.13 Point Visioning Plan Draft Action Plans 2013.05.13

Which of these areas are most important to you? What community projects could address several Action Items?