When driving by the Lead Mills property, a brief look will reveal that most of the protective chain link fencing is gone, that the grassy area has been mowed, and that temporary signage now appears at the upper Lafayette Street entrance. With thanks to the Light Department for removal of the fencing and to the Recreation and Park Department for cutting away the invasive plantings that had used the fencing for a trellis, the entire area appears more open, and the view of Salem Harbor from the old rail bed is improving.
Since the area remediation contractor has some responsibilities for five years after the work was finished, preparations for public use of this new conservation area has some limitations. Nonetheless, work continues. Three granite posts will mark the upper Lafayette Street entrance, perhaps by the time this newsletter appears. These posts will be positioned to allow pedestrian passage at any time while restricting vehicles to a locked gate. As soon as the posts are in, new and more visible signage will appear. One sign will mark the entrance; another will give a description of the property and speak to the turning of an old industrial site into a conservation area. A little later we hope to have another sign available – one that will cover the long history of this wonderful location
In September the Town plans to commission two schools, the Conway School of Landscape Design and the University of Massachusetts Graduate School of Landscape Architecture, for the development of independent thoughts on utilization of the land. Neither project has any commitment for implementation, but both should provide ideas to the Town of Marblehead and the City of Salem for the development of a long term area usage plan. The commissioned efforts are to include analysis and assessment of the land, review of regulatory restrictions, and the needs of the communities and other stakeholders in order to propose design alternatives, management and maintenance.
– Trustees of the Conservancy