On Thursday, August 29th Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the City of Everett held a successful open forum regarding the Lower Broadway Master Vision, the establishment of a Redevelopment Authority, and the concept of an Urban Renewal Plan.
Mayor DeMaria and over 50 residents came together in an effort to stimulate community dialogue regarding possible redevelopment in the area. David Rodrigues, Assistant City Solicitor, and James Errickson, Director of Planning and Development joined the Mayor at the meeting to assist in discussing the proposed Lower Broadway Master Vision, the benefits of establishing a Redevelopment Authority, and the facts regarding an Urban Renewal Plan.
The Mayor explained to residents that these concepts are essential tools that will assist the City in moving forward with community’s desire for higher standards of redevelopment, specifically in the Lower Broadway area. He refereed to the idea that the City can re-invigorate the Lower Broadway neighborhood into a district that re-engages with the Mystic River waterfront, has public parks and open space that is designed for and is located near residents, and can accommodate, but also lessen, the impact from industrial uses and traffic flowing through the neighborhood.
In addition, the Mayor clarified that modern-day urban renewal is very different from the mid-century urban renewal. The goal of modern day urban renewal is to establish a shared vision for a particular neighborhood in need of targeted investment. This vision, ultimately voted and approved on by the City Council in the case in Everett, is one that would likely not be realized under private market conditions alone. Therefore, thoughtful, targeted site assemblage and infrastructure improvements are potentially needed in order to make the vision a reality.
“To be clear, an Urban Renewal Plan for the Lower Broadway neighborhood has not yet been created, and can only be drafted through an inclusive public planning process,” states Mayor DeMaria, “The first step to starting this process, and making the Lower Broadway vision a reality is to establish a redevelopment authority.”
Residents were then encouraged by the Mayor to take part in a candid conversation, in which they could ask questions and express their thoughts, ideas, and impressions. “I know that a lot of confusion was created at the last Joint Convention regarding the topic of Lower Broadway and urban renewal,” stated Mayor DeMaria after the meeting, “I wanted this additional meeting to make sure I could talk with the neighbors directly, to alleviate any fears that may have been conjured up by erroneous information.” The positive reactions to the proposed redevelopment and urban renewal process expressed at the forum indicated a clear line of open and effective communication. The Mayor was grateful to the residents for their participation, recognizing that the most important aspect of these visioning meetings is the participation of all residents and community groups.