9 Oct

Fall Art Steward Program Set to Start October 20, 2020

Join us online every Tuesday evening from 6pm-8pm to participate in NewVue Communities Art Stewards Training.

October 20 through December 8, 2020

FOCUSING ON THE BIG PICTURE

Welcome and Introduction  October 20, 2020

Intro to Training Series

By: Jessie Olson

  • What is The Big Picture
  • What topics will be included?
  • Who will be the presenters?
  • Goals for the series
  • Questions & answers

Water Street Bridge  October 27, 2020

The Rail Trail: Leominster-Fitchburg

By: Tom Skwierawski, City of Fitchburg

  • What are the plans?
  • What is the timeline?
  • What is the cost?
  • When will it be completed?
  • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

The Theatre Block Project  November 3, 2020

By: Tom Skwierawski, City of Fitchburg

  • What are the plans?
  • What is the timeline?
  • What is the cost?
  • When will it be completed?
  • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

FAM Artist Resident Selection November 10, 2020

By: Nick Capasso, Fitchburg Art Museum

The Fitchburg Arts Community  November 17, 2020

By: Marc Dohan, NewVue Communities

  • What are the plans?
  • What is the timeline?
  • What is the cost?
  • When will it be completed?
  • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

ReImagine North of Main    November 24, 2020

MassDevelopment TDI

By: Joe Fergusson and Francisco Torres

  • What are their roles?
  • Are there any future projects?
  • What are their costs?
  • Is there a timeline?
  • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

Main and Boulder Streets December 1, 2020

Two Way Streets

By: Tom Skwierawski, City of Fitchburg

  • What are the plans?
  • What is the timeline?
  • What is the cost?
  • When will it be completed?
  • Possibilities for participation of art stewards

Overview and Next Steps  December 8, 2020

By: Jessie Olson, Facilitator

  • Public art and social justice
  • What does the current moment call for?
  • How do we respond?
  • How can art impact social change?

GRADUATION CEREMONY December 18, 2020   6pm-8pm

NewVue Communities thanks our fellow sponsors: City of Fitchburg, Fitchburg Art Museum, Mass Development and North of Main

29 Sep

National Night Out Scheduled for Tuesday, October 6.

In its fifth consecutive year, Fitchburg will celebrate National Night Out, an annual campaign sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch that brings police and neighbors together under positive circumstances. Fitchburg will join over 16,500 communities from all 50 states and US territories in hosting activities aiming to develop safer, more caring neighborhoods by enhancing the relationship between community members and law enforcement.

While the event’s original goal to build community has not changed, many elements of this year’s National Night Out will be different from previous years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event, which is typically celebrated on the first Tuesday in August, was rescheduled to Tuesday October 6, 2020. Another change is that the event will take place on a virtual platform and be broadcasted through Facebook Live instead of being held at Lowe Park.

Coming on the heels of peaceful demonstrations denouncing police brutality in Leominster and Fitchburg, and a virtual celebration of Juneteenth, this year’s National Night Out will help to continue a community conversation emerging in the region right now related to contemporary issues of racial injustice.

Organizers of Fitchburg’s National Night Out include representatives from NewVue Communities, the Fitchburg Police Department, ReImagine North of Main, the Yo Daddy Doe Sho, and the ARTivism Initiative. The planning team, in a collaborative effort, has developed a full itinerary including the following discussion panels:

  • The 6 Pillars for XXI Century Community Policing;
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Representation in City Government and Services; 
  • and Strategies to Improve Communication Between the Police Department and the Community.

The panels will be interspersed with art-sharing, storytelling, and performances touching on themes of human experiences and healing during this unprecedented year. The event will also include a virtual resource fair.

Ernest Martineau, Chief of Police for the Fitchburg Police Department and planning committee member said National Night out 2020 will look drastically different from previous years, however the message of police community relations will be loud and clear.  Established in 1984 as a bridge between law enforcement and the communities we serve, now more than ever we see the importance in this relationship.” 

Event organizer, Meredith Geraghty from NewVue Communities said “My favorite part of National Night Out has always been the resource fair. Our community’s health and safety depend on the quality of our law enforcement as well as access to housing, healthcare, education, healthy food, and art. This event highlights many of the great organizations and services that exist in the region. This year we are seeing new, young community leaders who are participating in NewVue’s Community Stewards program and are stepping up and taking the lead on this event. “

Derek Craig aka Yo Daddy Doe said “I want to focus this year on broadening the conversation with first responders and the communities they serve as well as provide a platform for those who are participating in this event to speak, listen, and observe.  This will be as interactive as possible; from questions for the panelists to information and contacts to our resources here in North Central MA.  As an artist and activist, I feel personally responsible for providing this platform to people who look like me and to make this as constructive and relatable as it has been in previous years.” 

NationAll residents of Fitchburg and the surrounding communities are invited register to attend the event at https://tinyurl.com/FitchburgNationalNightOut . Any organization or individual who wants to highlight a resource or service within the community during the event should email Francisco Ramos at Framos@nvcomm.org. Deadline for art submissions and resource fair materials is September 30th, 2020 at 11:59pm

21 Jul

Congressman McGovern and State Representative Higgins Tour Completed Carter School Apartments

Tenant, Carol Bergeron, welcomes Congressman McGovern and Marc Dohan to tour her apartment.

Congressman James McGovern and State Representative Natalie Higgins joined members of the NewVue Communities leadership team for a tour of the Carter School Apartments on Tuesday, July 14, 2020.  The newly completed renovation of the Carter Junior High School on West Street provided a beautiful back drop for Marc Dohan, Executive Director to brief Congressman McGovern and Representative Higgins on both the challenges of a project like the Carter building and the positive impact of completing such an important affordable housing opportunity for the community. “We are very pleased to have this building completed and the apartments at full capacity. The condition of the building certainly provided some unique challenges given its earlier condition,” said Dohan.

Marc Dohan, Executive Director, NewVue Communities

A tour of the building included meeting Carol Bergeron, a tenant who moved into her unit the beginning of March. Ms. Bergeron spoke with Congressman McGovern about how pleased she was to have secured an apartment, describing it as spacious and beautifully designed. Ms. Bergeron who was born and raised in Leominster was most happy about the opportunity that her new housing provided – an opportunity to move back home to Leominster. “There is a great deal to like about this place and my apartment, but probably the best thing is that the people who manage the building are so nice, responsive, and helpful,” said Bergeron.

State Representative Natalie Higgins

Congressman McGovern, who supported the Carter School project throughout its development, spoke about the critical need for affordable housing and encouraged NewVue to continue identifying projects that have the impact of the Carter School Apartments. “The opportunity to tour the Carter School Apartments as a finished project was wonderful, and I’m glad my office was able to help support this important project,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “While affordable housing continues to remain unreachable for far too many families, I was so glad to see that these welcoming and affordable units will serve as homes that families can be proud of. I commend NewVue for taking this project on and seeing it through to completion. It’s impressive.”

State Representative Natalie Higgins offered her thoughts on the project and said “I’m so thrilled to see the Carter School Apartments filled with new and old neighbors. NewVue Communities worked relentlessly to ensure this project was successful, even helping residents move in throughout the start of the COVID-19 state of emergency and continues to bring so many opportunities to the residents of Leominster through its work.”

29 Jun

2020 Annual Meeting a Success

Thursday, June 25, brought 65 guests to the NewVue Communities virtual 2020 Annual Meeting. Leominster Mayor, Dean Mozzarella,  guest speaker for the evening, offered a very positive overview of NewVue’s purchase and rehabilitation of the former Carter Jr. High into what is now 39 affordable housing units in the Carter School Apartments. “NewVue has an amazing team. I have 27 years of being involved in these projects and the work on this building was remarkable. We have a historic building that now offers sorely-needed housing in a nice area of Leominster. It really shows that if you have the right team you can accomplish anything,” said Mayor Mazzarella.

A short business meeting included the renewing of the following board members to a three-year term: Jay Bry, Christina DiRusso, Thomas Gray, Erin Nano. Laura O’Kane, the newest board member voted on Thursday, has served on NewVue’s real estate committee for three years and works at Geronimo Properties in Leominster.  Laura is a resident of Fitchburg.

Wingate’s Leominster and Fitchburg Housing Management team.

Three awards recipients were recognized at the meeting. Wingate Companies, NewVue’s housing management company for the past 8 years, received the Community Partnership Award.

Commenting on the award, Michael Martin, President of Wingate Companies stated,  “we are truly honored to receive NewVue’s generous recognition of our dedicated Wingate staff.  We are so proud of their commitment and compassion especially when recent circumstances have been so uniquely challenging.  Such dedication is only possible because Wingate and NewVue share a true partnership and we look forward to an even stronger alliance over many more years to come.”

Stacey Fenton, former Fitchburg resident and Public Education Steward passed away last April

Stacey Fenton, a former Fitchburg resident and NewVue Public Education Steward,  was recognized posthumously with the Luz Sanchez Resident Leadership Award. Close friend and fellow Steward, Luisa Fernandez, said “Stacey actively participated in the fight for education in Fitchburg. She had a great vision of what she wanted and an enormous strength to achieve it. Thank you, Stacey, for this huge life lesson that you gave us,” said Luisa.

Jackie Mastrangelo, Small Business Developer at  NewVue had the pleasure of presenting a new award, Small Business of the Year, to Stacey Sparrow Murphy, owner of Art on the Rocks. “ NewVue selected Art on the Rocks not only for their impressive small business growth but also for the ability of Stacey and her husband to stay current, accessible and operating full time during COVID-19 and surpassing her business goals during the most recent six months.  Stacey strengthened her business through offering social media video classes,” said Jackie. Art on the Rocks is in their tenth year of operation.

Marc Dohan, Executive Director, reported into the Zoom meeting from Carter School and assured guests an appropriate ribbon cutting ceremony would take place when guidelines allowed.

Madeline Mendoza, Housing Services Manager, with some of the May 2020 Homebuyers Class graduates.

Marc provided an overview of the Agency’s work during the past year with a focus on the impact of COVID-19 and the staff’s timely response in shifting NewVue services to meet the ever-changing needs of clients  Face-to-face homeownership and financial classes and coaching went virtual as well as the technical assistance offered by the small business team. Community organizing continued to be strong, just different, also counting on virtual meetings.

Acknowledging the incredible work of the Carter Apartments development team, Marc was able to walk guests through the condition of the building prior to construction and the character and beauty of the current building with before and after construction photos. “Thank you to our terrific contractor, Hutter Construction and our design team led by Davis Square Architects for making this all happen,” said Marc. The New Liabilities to Assets project was also highlight.

Derek Craig, Art Steward and organizer of the June 5, Fitchburg march

Marc included in his comments his reaction to the recent events in our country leading to marches in some of the cities and towns across our service footprint – offering his steadfast commitment to ensure NewVue is an active participant in the solutions to end social injustice.   He spoke specifically about how structural racism in housing has made it harder for Black Americans to purchase a home.

In closing, Marc stated, “none of what we do at NewVue can be accomplished without partners, funders, and donors. You energize us with ideas, inspire us with your action and fund the work that we do every day.  Our board guides us through these turbulent times, and both encourages us and holds us accountable.  We couldn’t do what we do without our great staff. Thank you all for taking the time to come out tonight and thank you all for providing me with hope.”

9 Jun

NewVue Celebrates NeighborWorks America

If you are connected in any way to the work of NewVue Communities, then you have been impacted by the great work of Neighborworks America. This week, the 240 plus community development organizations in our nation, like NewVue Communities, are celebrating all that we can accomplish as a result of the supportive structure Neighborworks America provides its members. June 6 – 13, is Neighborworks Week and NewVue is proud to be a member.

Neighborworks America offers quality resources, demonstrating their commitment to affordable housing and safe neighborhoods. Their technical assistance, including peer exchange opportunities, as well as training and leadership development, position community development centers to be current in best practices and promising strategies as they plan work related to affordable housing, economic development, and community leadership. “We make regular use of the learning resources made available to employees,” said Marc Dohan, NewVue’s Executive Director. “The conferences, webinars, and various peer learning groups are excellent. They are designed specifically for our work and that makes for strong and worthwhile training opportunities.”

Financial support through grants is an important way that Neighborworks America demonstrates an interest in the progress and success of each member. Their funding helps NewVue leverage additional funding so we can achieve our mission.  Learn More about NeighborWorks support of our Liabilities to Assets program.

Self evaluation is key to any successful nonprofit and Neighborworks makes available applicable tools to measure progress and evaluate data that makes for better informed planning and decision making.

Bottom line – we value NeighborWorks America and the impressive, supportive and professional relationships we have established as a result of our membership. THANK YOU Neighborworks America!

9 Jun

First Liabilities to Assets Home Made New

Our newest program, Liabilities to Assets has completed the first home, rehabbed and made beautiful for an income eligible family. The house is located on Lorchris Street in Leominster. Liabilities to Assets is a pilot project and partnership between NewVue, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the five municipalities of Athol, Gardner, Leominster, Fitchburg and Clinton.

Before

This program was made possible, in part, through the support of Neighborworks America. A grant from Neighborworks provided the much-needed initial funding for this project that identifies abandoned houses causing blight and rehabilitates those houses.   The program provides families with incomes between 60% and up to 110% of the area medium income an opportunity to purchase an affordable home.

Neighborworks’ grant, in support of NewVue’s expansion and growth, funded the legal, financial and feasibility studies, housing assessments to start the 121A Plan (cataloguing potential homes) as well as staff and administrative startup costs.  That initial investment has resulted in the recent completion of the first home on Lorchris Street and positioned NewVue to move forward with other houses in the region.

Ready for Sale

Hired in March of 2019  as the Director of the Liabilities to Assets program, Anne Reitmayer oversees the transformation of each home beginning with identifying qualifying houses through to the sale of the rehabbed home. Anne, who has spent most of her career in real estate stated, “this  program is making a difference, it’s important work that benefits neighborhoods, the new homeowner and our economy. The value of this program can be measured well beyond the joy it will bring to the new homeowners, although that is my favorite part.”

NewVue has additional homes under development in Fitchburg, Leominster and Athol.