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Culture and Cannons OK'd by Selectmen

The Board of Selectmen approved two separate requests at Monday night's meeting: dates for historic canon firings and the creation of a local-level cultural district initiative.

Cultural District Committee Approved

A new committee is forming to map out Concord's cultural cred in a bid to get the town listed alongside culturally notable destinations like Fenway Park and Gloucester's Rocky Neck.

On Monday, April 2, the Board of Selectmen gave Chamber Director Stephanie Stillman the go-ahead to form a Cultural District Committee tasked with detailing several walkable cultural districts within the town center and nearby areas. The goal would be to earn a designation as a Cultural District by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Stillman presented rough draft maps of the possible locations and their affiliated cultural impacts such as the Hawthorne Inn and Walden Pond.

Stillman explained that she has talked with many local business owners, and said support has been overwhelmingly positive for the initiative and its potential as an avenue of financial support for downtown-area businesses. Another positive Stillman sees is the cultural districts boosting attendance for live performances, art shows and similar Concord-based cultural experiences.

Currently, there are five designated cultural districts in the state: Fenway Park, Gloucester's Rocky Neck, Lynn's Central Exchange, Upstreet in Pittsfield and Rockport's cultural district, according to the Massachusetts Cultural Council. If approved, Concord would become the sixth official cultural district in the state.

According to the MCC website, the chief elected official of any city or town in Massachusetts can apply for designation as a cultural district, but the municipality must first establish a cultural districts partnership among a mix of organiztions that represent the interests of the district.

The only financial cost mentioned were between two and four signs, which would be posted at different intersections and along highways near town lines to guide tourists to the cultural districts.

Stillman is gathering an all-volunteer team to manage this project and is looking to add a map (once finished) and information about the cultural districts on the Chamber of Commerce and other town websites.

The selectmen mentioned that they have received a “flood” of correspondence in support of Stillman's initiative, and happily approved her request that the Cultural District Committee be formed on the local level for a term of operation for no less than five years with periodic renewals as needed.

Anyone interested in helping Stillman by joining the Cultural District Committee, she can be contacted at info@concordchamberofcommerce.org or by calling 978-369-3120.

Boom! Cannon Firing Approved

Kicking off Monday night's Board of Selectmen's meeting, Bob Eaton, on behalf of the Concord Independent Battery appeared before the board to request approval of live firings of the town's historic cannon.

It's an annual request from the Independent Battery, a revolutionary war re-creationist group that operates the town gun at several events throughout the year.

The selectmen approved Eaton's request to live fire the cannon and run military recreation exercises on the following dates at : April 7 following the Easter Parade, April 16 following the Patriots' Day Parade, April 19, an early morning, 6 a.m., exercise, again in support of Patriots' Day, May 28 in support of Memorial Day and Nov. 11, during the Veterans' Day flag retiring.

Eaton encouraged the Selectmen and all Concord residents to attend the dramatic recreations.

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