Excerpts from Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s Inaugural Address:
Ladies and Gentlemen, this past year we celebrated the 125th anniversary of our great city with bonfires, parades and fireworks.
These celebrations were more than just pageantry – they represented our collective good fortune – that we live in a city which, for 125 years, has been able to adapt to an ever changing economy. From our earliest history when industries grew up along our waterways, to today, when Everett products travel around the world and Amazon delivers them.
Everett has long been able to capitalize on its natural environment, diverse people and cultures, and a strong entrepreneurial citizenry.
Last term, I worked hard to build a foundation so that we could control our own destiny as a city.
That foundation includes the planning work required to set us up for success and transformative development, such as completing the Lower Broadway Master Plan, the Everett Square Master Plan, the Everett Transit Study, the River’s Edge Market Analysis, the Open Space Recreational Plan, and the Malden River Vision Plan — plans that have resulted in action.
Wynn Resorts is now spending over $2 million dollars a day in our city – and once the resort opens we will be receiving $30 million dollars in annual payments to the city. I fought hard to bring the Wynn Resort here. Not only for the $2.4 billion dollar investment in our community, but for the possibilities that the resort brings to us.
Right now, 1,100 design and construction employees are working onsite and eating in our restaurants and shopping in our stores each and every day.
Very shortly, these workers will be replaced with 4,500 permanent hospitality employees.
To make sure that our residents are ready for these jobs, we are establishing workforce development and training programs.
We are partnering with the Metro North Regional Employment Board, the Career Resource Center in Chelsea and the New England Center for Arts and Technology.
Starting this month, NECAT will bring its free Culinary Arts Job Training Program to Everett High School. The evening program will help unemployed and under employed adults prepare for a career in the culinary industry. This program provides students with extensive training and helps graduates secure permanent jobs.
Soon, Wynn Resorts will be opening a Career Center at City Hall to ensure residents can take advantage of new job opportunities at the new resort.
It just makes sense that we ensure we have a ready workforce in Everett, and access to these new jobs, given the tremendous opportunities and possibilities the Wynn Resort brings to our community.
Possibilities that I had long hoped would come to Everett, but what many others questioned.
10 years ago, even 5 years ago, if I had said that Everett would have and need a hotel like EnVision, most people would say I was crazy.
Today Envision is just the start of the hotels we will need and have – right here in Everett.
Just off of Route 16, in the Commercial Triangle, where we are soon to begin an urban renewal plan, a new luxury apartment complex is now being built at the old Harley Davidson Building- next door to the EnVision Hotel.
And, right near by, the owners of Wood Waste are permitted for a 545-unit residential development. This redevelopment of the Wood Waste site will transform a controversial construction demolition facility into high-end housing. These two mixed-use transit oriented developments are located just blocks from new Silver Line station at Market Basket, which will open this year.
My goal is to extend the Silver Line from Chelsea to Sullivan Square- opening up a huge potential for development in Everett Square and lower Broadway.
We are planning more improvements to the Square with new ornamental lighting, sidewalk cafes, parklets, public art and new development.
With the strong foundation that we have put into place – I know that many more NBIs will be knocking on our doors.
We are pleased to be working with the BSC Group on an urban renewal plan targeting blighted and abandoned properties in the heart of our city. This plan emerges from the Everett Square Master Plan that was completed last year. And we will implement many of those recommendations.
My goal is a revitalized Everett Square where you will no longer see vacant, blighted or abandoned properties, but instead a vibrant, inviting downtown area where people live, work, shop, and enjoy any number of top-shelf urban amenities.
The Northern Strand community path is being upgraded to include a completed ramp to the Madeline English School, giving children a safe walkable route to school.
Next spring, construction will start to connect the path to all of the adjoining streets including Norman, Appleton and Parlin Streets, and new lighting and security systems will make the path safe and welcoming at all hours of the day.
Further extension of the path to the Wynn Resort and over the Mystic River to Assembly Row is being designed for construction as we speak, and will transform the regional bicycle and walking network, allowing residents throughout Everett and the North Shore to walk or bike to downtown Boston safely.
We are improving pedestrian safety in our residential neighborhoods and near our schools. Two raised intersections were constructed this past summer to calm traffic near the Maddie English and Webster Schools, with 3 more to be constructed in 2018.
With our thriving economy, new industries like our breweries, recreational facilities and growing businesses seeking good workers, we need to build housing that is affordable.
Affordable for the hipsters, the young families, new arrivals and as well as our current residents who have already placed a stake in Everett years ago.
As we build a smart transit system we must also build a smart housing system. It is vital that we diversify our housing stock, assess the impact of a changing federal landscape and redefine what the “American Dream” looks like in Everett.
The old development mandate of 2 parking spaces for each bedroom is no longer smart, effficient or affordable.
By reducing the number of parking spots required, we can also reduce the cost of the development and increase open space by removing asphalt.
As we reduce the number of parking spaces required for new developments, we will also need to build in transportation alternatives. Many of these alternatives have been discussed in the Everett Square study that was completed last year.
Those alternatives include shared parking facilities- these could be municipal lots or private lots.
For instance, for those who must own cars, they could lease spaces from 6pm to 8am and on the weekends, when those spaces are not occupied.
-Everett is one of the most densely populated cities in the country, and yet we make more room for parking than we do for people.
As the federal government gets out of the housing business, I am also deeply concerned about the potential loss of affordable housing units due to expiring use. These units are a vital safety net for our most vulnerable citizens.
We know that thousands of people, young and old are dying every day. For the second year in a row, our life expectancy as Americans has dropped- this type of drop was last seen in the 1960s.
And the reason is opioid overdoses. This is unacceptable.
I am disgusted that President Trump nominated a congressman to be the US Drug Czar who shepherded legislation through congress that actually loosened restrictions on improper distribution of legal opioid drugs.
Congress passed this bill while accepting thousands of dollars in contributions from big pharma.
Although President Trump withdrew his nominee, there is no room in this country for lobbyists to control the agenda. Too many children and adults become addicted to opioids simply because they were prescribed them by their doctors.
I applaud Governor Baker’s recently proposed legislation to address opioid addiction in Massachusetts.
The bill includes new steps for making voluntary treatment more accessible and a process for those in crisis that desperately need treatment.
It proposes to regulate after-care treatment for the first time and establishes standards for credentialing treatment providers.
Here in Massachusetts, we need proven treatment options that will be covered by insurance.
Finally, we need to crack down on doctors who ignore state prescribing laws- and this legislation will do just that.
The bottom line is, this is simply a national crisis and we need both federal and state resources to fight it.
This year, I hired both the City’s first–ever substance abuse clinician and a program coordinator to prevent youth prescription drug misuse.
We established a Roadmap to Recovery Program, and in partnership with PAARI and AmeriCorps, we hired an outreach coordinator modeled after the City of Gloucester’s successful program to help those in crisis get into a recovery program.
-But this is not even close to being enough.
On behalf of our city, I am signing onto a lawsuit against the corporate drug distributors who ignored suspiciously large orders, and funneled millions of pills into small-town “pain clinics” that were merely a front for crime rings- all to increase their profits year over year as the addiction crisis continued to spiral.
Here in Everett, we all work hard to give our kids the best opportunity to succeed.
If we can coordinate our efforts on opioids and promote health and wellness, I truly believe all children in our community can meet their full potential.
That is why we continue to expand youth activities, from programs at the Health and Wellness Center to our afterschool basketball programs.
We are providing our children with the best recreational facilities in the state.
We have renovated over 8 parks, most recently the playgrounds at Swan Street Park, Meadows Park and Florence Street Park.
This year, Sacramone Park, Gramstorf Park and Morris Playground will all be fully renovated.
Park renovations and recreational programs provide our children and families the opportunity to participate in team sports and enjoy open play-but these park improvements are only a small down payment to the citizens of Everett.
Now is the time to give our entire waterfront back to our residents.
We recently completed the Malden River Vision Plan, and the first portion of the Malden Riverwalk is being constructed on the Rivergreen site.
We will open up our waterfront from the Malden line all the way to the Boston line.
In addition to the Rivergreen walkway, Wynn Resorts has completed a living shoreline and is constructing a mile-long walkway that will connect to the Malden River walkway.
The foundation is now being built for a ribbon of new green open spaces and paths along our waterfront to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike.
This passive park system will give our residents an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of our waterfront.
But parks need programing and active recreation that draws people to them to reach their full potential.
By combining both passive and active recreation to this area we will enliven this part of our community that has been underutilized.
That is why I am announcing tonight that it is my intention to work with the council to build a new, state-of-the-art stadium at Seven Acre Park to serve our students in the decades to come.
I have spoken with some of you about this already, and I hope that all of you will share in my excitement about what this project could mean for our community.
This new stadium will replace our current stadium, which as we all know is located in a dense residential neighborhood with limited parking-
I have heard, loud and clear, for years how the neighborhood feels about needing to perform elaborate searches for parking spots on game days and graduation.
By moving the stadium to Seven Acre Park, we will be able to partner with the businesses in the area, like Boston Coach and BNY Mellon, whose large lots are not heavily utilized on evenings and weekends.
We will include a regulation high school track, a field house, and facility to highlight and commemorate the strong tradition of our champion athletes- and preserve the WWII honor wall from the old stadium.
The new stadium does not stand alone however; it is part of the much larger transformation of the area along the Malden River that I truly believe is the next great growth area for our city.
This stadium will be part of a larger, top-of-the-line, recreational space made possible in part by our partnership with Wynn Resorts, who are building a new playground in this area in exchange for the opportunity to redevelop the underutilized Lynde playground.
This new play space will include regulation tennis courts to allow our high school to host tournaments, and basketball courts that will be located in a way to buffer any noise from reaching residents.
Soon, there will be a boathouse and a kayak launch on our side of the river- and maybe even a water taxi stop to take you to the Wynn or even into Boston.
The new stadium and play space will be adjacent to the river walk that is under construction by Wynn right now-an unbelievable community amenity that I hope you will all utilize both for exercise and to appreciate the wonder of the natural resources in our backyard that were long forgotten.
Soon, the bike path that runs from Saugus through this area, and currently terminates at West Street, will be extended in partnership with Wynn and others to continue on across Rt. 16, around the Wynn resort, and into Boston- providing cyclists with an excellent opportunity for a safe, scenic commute.
By building all of these new amenities in this area, we will attract a mix of businesses, like hotels and restaurants that will add to the energy and vibrancy of the neighborhood.
More and more people will see what a gem we have-and property values for the homeowners in the area will rise.
To make sure we are primed for success, our planning department is working on an urban renewal plan for the area and planning for enhanced roadway infrastructure to provide better access.
This will complement the enhanced transit options that we are advocating and planning for, and will soon see.
Imagine biking from the new stadium to the pedestrian footbridge over to the Assembly T station, and then taking the orange line into Boston. Or walking from the new playground down the river walk and getting on the Silver Line at the Wynn and heading to North Station