Good afternoon Fitchburg,
What does a hydrometer, reverse osmosis machine, and a gasification evaporator have in common? Maple syrup. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts may produce some of the best maple syrup throughout the country, but certainly the number one maple syrup that anyone can buy is made right here in the great City of Fitchburg. Jim Latanzi of Hollis Hill farm starred on Wednesday evenings’ Chronicle showcasing how his farm produced nearly 90,000 gallons of maple syrup in 2019. A special thank you to the Latanzi family for representing our city and making a tourism destination right in the hills of beautiful Fitchburg.
Last week Governor Baker moved to Step 2 of Phase 2 in his reopening plan. The City would like to remind businesses to follow the guidelines as established by the Governor’s plan. If your business is allowed to open according to the plan, as long as the guidelines are followed and plans are in place according to the guidelines, you are allowed to reopen without the City of Fitchburg’s approval. The City has been reaching out to many businesses and will continue to do so. If there are questions or concerns, and we know there are many, do not hesitate to reach out to the Health Department or the Community Development Office. I ask that folks please be patient with the Health Dept. as they have been experiencing a high volume of requests at this time
This Thursday, the Reopening Task Force met to discuss how to prepare for Phase Three of the State’s Reopening Plan. The Task Force’s Phase 3 Sub-Committee, chaired by Mary Jo Bohart, outlined a set of recommendations for the Task Force to implement:
1. Advocate to the state to provide at least a few business days in lead time in advance of the Phase 3 announcement, to allow cities and businesses to adequately prepare
2. Proactively message Phase 3 sectors and reopening guidance, and also utilize social media to ensure consumers are aware of Phase 3 businesses as they open
3. Request that the Fitchburg Parks Board holds a meeting the week of June 29th and create a strategy for streamlined approvals of safe uses of our parks and public spaces for commerce and activity
4. Create an online permit to allow for expedited “Public Assembly” form approvals for such gatherings in parks and public spaces
5. Hold Phase 3 Virtual Office Hours to allow the Phase 3 Sub-committee—which includes City officials but a number of members of the business community—to problem-solve reopening issues with Phase 3 businesses
To that end, the Sub-Committee will hold Phase 3 virtual office hours this Tuesday, June 30th, at 1:00. You can access those office hours at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/115639405
The Task Force also discussed the need for businesses to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, which runs out June 30th. Businesses that have not yet applied to this program are encouraged to contact either NewVue Communities or the North Central Chamber of Commerce for more information.
I am very pleased to announce, in the coming week, the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority will be announcing the second round of their Economic Development Resiliency Grant. The City of Fitchburg and the FRA have already issued approximately $300,000 to local businesses, addressing the financial burdens businesses are facing and to keep them afloat until the state’s restrictions are lifted. Details on the amount and application will be made available shortly, and will be accessible to the public by visiting the FRA’s website www.fitchburgredevelopment.com. I would like to thank the FRA Board of Director’s and their Executive Director, Meagen Donoghue, for their support and commitment to our community.
The Crocker Playground Splash Pad will be opening on Friday, June 26, 2020 from 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM. The Blue and Yellow Activators will be disinfected on a daily basis. Please remember to practice social distancing while visiting the parks and wear a face covering when possible. Please do not wear a face covering while playing in the water as wet fabric can limit you or your children’s ability to breath.
As of 1pm today, there have been a total of 790 positive COVID-19 cases in Fitchburg, of which 659 are now recovered, and there have been 67 deaths attributed to COVID-19. It must be noted that this represents those individuals who have died and were positive for the virus, but official death record numbers may vary as COVID-19 may not be the official cause of death.
This week, we celebrated Eleanor Norcross, the founder of the Fitchburg Art Museum. Ms. Norcross was an artist, student, and a teacher. She gave Fitchburg the resources to establish a place to create, learn, and build community. Each year thousands of people visit the buildings at Merriam Parkway and Elm Street; enjoying concerts to floral interpretations, to salsa dancing, to theater performances, to hip hop, to 84 years of Regional Exhibitions. For nearly a century the Fitchburg Art Museum has remained a catalyst for learning, creativity and community building.
As we move forward into the weekend, let Eleanor Norcross’ birthday serve as a reminder of how fortunate Fitchburg is to have one of the most treasured cultural institutions in Central Massachusetts. The Fitchburg Art Museum brings together people of all backgrounds and different talents; a place of creativity and expression, and most importantly, provides a place where we can all go to listen and learn about the world around us.
Have a wonderful weekend,
Mayor Stephen L. DiNatale