Symposium to spotlight Saugus’ assets

SAUGUS – Selectman Scott Crabtree wants to talk about what’s right in Saugus.Weary of sour news and the ravages of the ongoing national Great Recession, the attorney and town official says time has come to take stock of the good things right here in 01906.”Some incredible improvements have been made in town over the past two years,” he said. “I want people to stop and take a look around.”To make that happen, Crabtree – with help from a core group eager to celebrate the positive instead of the negative – is holding the first-ever Saugus Symposium in the Town Hall auditorium on Wednesday from 4-7 p.m.”The idea is to show the public the improvements and the town services we have put into place and to discuss what we want our town to look like in the future,” he said. “There are a lot of good things happening in Saugus in these bad economic times.”Crabtree has invited key town officials to give brief presentations at the cablecast event, including Town Manager Andrew Bisignani, Fire Chief James Blanchard, Police Chief Domenic Dimella, Public Works Director Joseph Attubato, School Superintendent Richard Langlois, the School Committee, the Board of Selectmen, members of the Youth and Recreation Commission, Town Counsel John Vasapolli and the state delegates, including Rep. Donald Wong, the town’s selectmen chairman. He has also requested the state Department of Conservation and Recreation send a representative from Breakheart Reservation, which represents open green space in Saugus.Others invited to make presentations are Bike-to-the-Sea, an initiative aimed at converting abandoned railways into bicycle and hiking paths and, once built, would wend through Saugus; Friends of Breakheart Reservation; the Public Library; the Saugus Chamber of Commerce; and Janice Jarosz, who will speak on the ongoing restoration of the MEG school building in Cliftondale.”This event is free and open to the public. I want to bring in the real estate professionals and hopefully the potential home buyers so that everyone can see what Saugus has to offer,” Crabtree said. “We need to show them our greatest assets.”Crabtree said his colleagues on the Board of Selectmen were supportive of the symposium idea. “They voted to sponsor it as an official event,” he said. “Now we’re hoping people will show up and take part. We’ve invited all town employees and every department head.”Asked what he sees as the town’s biggest assets, Crabtree explained there is a lot to like about Saugus. “We have great landmarks like Breakheart Reservation and the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site. I think the Police Department has done an extraordinary job cleaning up some of the issues we had with nightclubs and the crime rate. And the Fire Department is progressive, always providing services to the public,” he said.Crabtree emphasized the school system has undergone remarkable improvement in the past few years. “The administration, teachers and staff have brought us from the brink of receivership to a Level II school district. That’s something to be proud of and the superintendent has made a commitment to make Saugus a Level I district, which would make it competitive with Melrose and Wakefield,” he said.The upbeat selectman said residents should cheer the re-certification of the Belmonte Middle School as a middle school”It scored a 99.9 percent rating for having highly qualified teachers. That is unprecedented in other communities,” he said. “And I don’t want people to forget our town library has become re-certified as well.”Among other recent Saugus achievements, Crabtree pointed to reconstruction of Hamilton Street, with new water main and road surface. “That is one of the biggest road construction projects we have ever had,” he said.Also on the list of Saugus assets: World Series Park. Crabtree credited the work of Bob Davis, the park superintendent, for making the facility the envy of other communities.”I have asked Bob to come and speak at the symposium,” he said, citing

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