By Seth Daniel
The past is about to get more present.
In a city where history has been forgotten or pushed aside for decades, a new effort by the Planning Department and the new Historical Commission is looking to identify properties, sites and areas throughout the community that could qualify for the National Register of Historic Places.
Currently, Everett has no properties on the Registry – a program that seeks to preserve properties of significance, and in some cases, extend tax advantages and funding to them. The idea is to identify some significant places and properties to add to the Register. The only thing on the Registry in Everett is Revere Beach Parkway, but that is a designation championed by another community.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he fully supports the effort, and finds it appropriate during the 125th Anniversary celebration.
“As we celebrate our 125th year as a city, I am proud that we are focusing also on our historic properties,” he said. “These properties define us and enhance the quality of our lives. By preserving this heritage, we are strengthening our character as a community.”
The City is working off of a 50-50 matching grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) to inventory and identify the places that Everett might want to consider.
Already, as part of that, the City has chosen a consultant through a competitive bidding process. That consultant, Lisa Mausolf, has done extensive historic inventory work in Woburn, Salem and Swampscott, and City officials said she comes highly qualified.
“Our aim is to get more properties on the Historic Register,” said Maria Josefson, GIS Director for Everett. “It’s a process that isn’t super fast, but something that will ultimately get us the work that we need to do this.”
Josefson said Mausolf will be working for about a year on the project, and has started now with the beginning research and setting project goals.
She will be surveying approximately 110 properties or sites.
“It could be public property or private property, or it could be an area like Everett Square,” she said. “It could be a number of sites, buildings, areas and objects. It will also help us as we plan for the future. To have the evidence in hand is very important. It really helps to have someone with a background working on it and the MHC coming in too.
“I think it’s really interesting and something most of us don’t know as we walk around every day,” she said. “Many of us are oblivious to the great amount of history that is around us here.”
As stated above, one of the outcomes of this work will be to start the process of getting some city sites into the National Register, which in turn can allow owners to tap into tax credits.
It could also, however, inform a walking tour, brochures or even historic preservation/beautification clubs. Another possibility is to be able to designate historic districts or areas of the City that are unique.
Josefson said they will definitely be looking at City-owned buildings as well, and they also will now include the Jewish Cemetery near Woodlawn in the survey.
“We actually have nothing on the Jewish Cemetery,” she said. “It didn’t get surveyed in the 1970s, so we’re excited to now include that.”
Others involved in the project include City Planner Tony Sousa, City Clerk Sergio Cornelio.