, Newburyport, MA

November 30, 2012

An $84,500 gift for Port

Morrill Foundation makes annual award for city projects


---- — NEWBURYPORT — Not all municipal improvement projects are funded by government sources.

City officials recently received an outline of projects that are scheduled to be financed by the Morrill Foundation, named for the Morrill family that has deep roots in this community.

Gayden Morrill died in July from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in Williamsburg, Va.

He was the lead trustee of the Mayor Gayden W. Morrill Charitable Foundation, established by his grandfather and former mayor for whom he was named.

The foundation has donated thousands of dollars over the years, including about $675,000 in the last 14 years alone, to beautify and improve Newburyport, city officials say.

The City Council earlier this week passed a formal declaration thanking the foundation for its upcoming commitment of $84,500. That foundation is currently administered by Robert D. Morrill of Stuart, Fla., brother of the late Gayden Morrill and grandson of the late mayor.

The following enhancement projects have been earmarked for funding:

$35,000 for the Civil War Memorial at Atkinson Common

$15,000 for the Clipper Rail Trail Phase II seating enhancements

$15,000 for Joppa Park improvements

$6,615 for park signage at Bartlet Mall

$1,150 for signage at Oak Hill Cemetery

$11,735 (tentative) for the creation of a Range Light Sculpture Garden.

In a letter to municipal leaders, Robert Morrill noted that the “garden is an expensive endeavor and additional funding will be essential.” The foundation funds “bricks and mortar” projects only, he added.

“It is understood that the foundation funding will at no time be used for any design, but only for material implementation,” he said in the letter. “Consequently, our allocation is only to be perceived as potential seed monies to get the project off the ground, and (if sufficient funds) do not materialize, it will be reallocated.”

The Mayor Gayden W. Morrill Charitable Foundation was established to beautify the city of Newburyport, with an emphasis on its parks, as well as to enhance its historic and recreational sites.

The foundation was created by Robert and Gayden Morrill’s father, Frank Forrest Morrill (1912-2004), in honor of his own father, former Mayor Morrill, who served from 1932 to 1935.

Every year, the trustees, who also include Robert and Gayden Morrill’s brother, Jim, have met with the mayor and other city officials to select projects that the foundation will support.

During the past decade, funds from the foundation have been used for such projects as the Clipper City Rail Trail, Joppa Park, Brown Square, Moseley Woods, Bartlet Mall, Atkinson Common, the Powder House, World War Memorial Stadium and others.