Supporters of the plan to remake the former Chadwick Lead Mills site on the Salem-Marblehead border can be forgiven if they thought it would never become the welcoming green space they envisioned more than a decade ago.
The year 2012, however, saw significant movement on the project, the most important being the commitment of Marblehead voters, who approved a $1.5 million Proposition 21/2 override to help buy the property.
Now it looks as though Marblehead citizens are going to get some of their money back. Last week, the state contributed a $400,000 grant toward the project through its Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program. The money will be used to reduce Marblehead residents’ contribution from $1.5 million to $1.1 million.
While the project has been in the works for a long while, it is an impressive example of what can happen when municipalities, the state, nonprofit groups and citizens work together toward a common goal.
The site includes property in Salem and Marblehead, and while the bulk of the land is in Marblehead, Salem has been a willing partner in the project. The Essex County Greenbelt Association played a large role in negotiations for the purchase of the property, and the Marblehead Conservancy was a key fundraiser. The citizens of Marblehead opened their wallets.
There is still work to be done on the purchase and to ready the property to be used for “passive recreation,” such as walking trails. However, much has already been done.
Marblehead Selectman Judy Jacobi called last week’s grant “the fruits of a team effort and an incredible Christmas gift.”
We agree, and we’re looking forward to the project’s expected completion in the new year.