On behalf of the Norcross Center and the East Longmeadow Historical Commission, I would like to ask the voters of East Longmeadow to attend the May 19 town meeting and vote for existing Community Preservation Funds to be approved for historical preserevation of the properties at 87 and 89 Maple Street in East Longmeadow.
These properties are home to the historic Norcross House and the East Longmeadow Historical Museum. As a member of the East Longmeadow Historical Commission, I have seen historic properties lost to this town in the name of progress. Our own museum has twice been moved for the building of new complexes. The historic 1800s house on Maple Street was recently torn down and our train depot sits in disrepair waiting for confirmation of a final resting place.
We are a fortunate town to have a growing Community Preservation Fund to protect and preserve open space, affordable housing, and historical properties. The $500,000 Community Preservaion accounts continues to grow and will realize additional funds to be matched by our state in our 2008 real estate tax bills. If a portion of these funds were approved at the May town meeting, a historical restriction would be placed on the Norcross House and the Historical Museum. This would assure that these two properties would be historically protected for future generations to enjoy and the museum would be guaranteed a permanent location in this town.
Friends of Norcross are a non-profit organization who have fundraised and relied on donations for the past five plus years to restore and maintain this beautiful Victorian treasure in the center of town. Despite all our efforts, we find that we cannot continue without additional funding. The funds to continue our dream of an historical complex here in East Longmeadow that beautifully showcases our town's rich history are already available, and sit ready to be voted on at the annual town meeting.
Our goal for Norcross is to see it thrive as a community asset for meetings and gatherings of our current and future patrons such as the Garden Club, Rotary Club, Red Hat Ladies, as well as many local artists and vendors. We will continue to sponsor the Caribbean Festival every fall, which is a major fundraiser for our schools. Our plans are to include and educate the students of our town in research and history projects, and to make the Norcross Center available to students for any art exhibits, musical recitals, and cultural events that would benefit our school district. The funds to make this hapen have already been approved by the Community Preservation Board, have been quoted by the town attorney and selectmen as a "good use of the funds" and a long-term value for the town. We hope you will agree and vote on May 19 for funding for Norcross.
Historical Commission and Norcross Board member