By Seth Daniel
There was no shortage of news in Everett this year as the City continued to work well together and propel itself to greater heights in status, development and public education.
This year’s news was certainly dominated once again by the Wynn Boston Harbor resort casino, but it wasn’t about licenses or legal fights this time, but rather about moving fast on building the remarkable structure on Lower Broadway.
Beyond Wynn, the Everett Crimson Tide’s perfect season – the last one under legendary coach John DiBiaso – was perhaps one of the best campaigns in program history. Other notable points of the year was the City’s 125th Anniversary celebration in the summer, a magical homecoming put on by Everett Supt. Fred Foresteire and the schools, and the return of fireworks to Glendale Park after a generation by Mayor Carlo DeMaria.
- Wynn Boston Harbor dominated the news this year, but as opposed to previous years where the news was mostly about battling for licenses or legal hurdles, this year was all about pedal-to-the-floor construction. The following milestones were achieved in just one short year of the project, slated to open in June 2019:
*The first steel beams on the project at the Central Utility Plan go up on Jan. 9.
*The last load of soil is removed from the garage foundation and the bulk of the momentous environmental remediation project ends on April 1.
*Wynn asks for and receives the ability to apply for a special 4 a.m. liquor license during the State Budget process over the summer. No entity has ever had a liquor closing time beyond 2 a.m.
*Gov. Charlie Baker makes his first visit to the site in a very quiet tour in June.
*The casino company delivers a $12.5 million mitigation check to the City of Everett on July 14. Later, Mayor Carlo DeMaria and the City Council agree to use it for direct property tax relief to help residents.
*The Living Shoreline project starts construction in earnest in July, and will continue into 2018. The new way of constructing a shoreline is more environmentally friendly and helps to prevent coastal flooding. It is one of only a few in the state.
*By September, the tower is coming out of the ground and the function facility is under construction. The environmental cleanup is done on site and work crews are going nearly around the clock. By December, the tower is up to 18 of 27 floors and the patented Wynn Bronze glass is up to floor nine.
*The Everett RiverWalk project by Wynn Boston Harbor at the old GE site is under construction in the fall for Phase 1, and is to be done in April 2018.
*Wynn buys up more properties off-site on Lower Broadway in November for a total of $2.79 million in purchases. During a speech in Boston on Nov. 1, Steve Wynn said they are $75 million into a $90 million off-site purchase program.
- The Everett High School Crimson Tide football team marches to a perfect season and the 12th Super Bowl title under Head Coach John DiBiaso. The team capped a season, which including an historic Thanksgiving Eve game at Fenway Park, with a Super Bowl win at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 2 over Xaverian, 35-10. The team was arguably one of the best in the program’s storied history.
- The only bigger news in Everett football than the Super Bowl win this year was Head Coach John DiBiaso. The legendary coach achieved his 300th football win during a game against St. John’s Prep in November. Then, after his 12th Super Bowl win in December, he announced that he is retiring from coaching the Crimson Tide. It is one of the biggest stories in a generation for Everett sports fans.
- The School Committee suffers two losses to its membership in the fall, with long-time member Bob Carreiro passing away on Oct. 1 and Richard Baniewicz on Dec. 2. Both had served more than a decade on the Board when they died in office.
- The City of Everett embarked on an ambitious marking of its 125th year as a City in 2017, starting off the celebration with a huge parade on July 22. Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Supt. Fred Foresteire and outgoing City Clerk Mike Matarazzo team up to plan the yearlong celebration and parade – a series of events that is to conclude in January at a Grand Ball. For the parade, Everett native Walter Carrington is named as the Grand Marshall. Carrington was a huge figure in the Civil Rights movement and also was a U.S. Ambassador in Africa.
- The Breweries in Everett continued to be a huge driver for the popularity of the city amongst the entire Greater Boston area. Some of the stories this year for the breweries included:
*Short Path Distillery expands its facility and opens up a new patio in May.
*Bone Up Brewery expands its operations after only four months open to the public. Demand at the husband-and-wife owned brewery continued to grow through the year.
*Down the Road Brewery got its license to open a taproom at its existing brewery on Bow Street, but delays in the process put off the opening until the fall. However, once open, the newest taproom in the City has received rave reviews.
*Night Shift Brewery was named the Best Brewery in Boston by Boston Magazine in July. The company announces it hopes to double its production in 2017, and continues on that path into 2018.
- The enVision Hotel opens on April 1 in an old refurbished building on the Parkway. It is the first hotel to open in Everett, and that occasion is celebrated with a great ribbon-cutting event on Aug. 10.
- Village Fest becomes bigger and better than ever as Rock and Roll Hall of Famer George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic headline the festival. Thousands flock to the area for an evening of fun and enjoying the local breweries.
- Naval Officer Chris Brienza passes away in Florida during a car accident on March 2. More than 2,000 Everett High students line Elm Street in his honor during the funeral procession to Woodlawn.
- The City unveils a study and set of recommendations by the Utile design company to kick off the Re-Shaping of Everett Square in March. The movement on the re-design of Everett Square to be more alive and more pedestrian friendly continued through the summer and fall. Big announcements on the plan are expected in 2018.
- On March 27, the City Council, after months of deliberation, passes the new Inclusionary Zoning ordinance. The new ordinance means every new development in Everett will now have an affordable housing component. The first project subject to the new ordinance came later in the summer.
- The City revives fireworks in the park after more than a generation during the July 4th Celebration in Glendale Park. Other shows follow and the City plans to have many more fireworks celebrations, using the new technology that allows fireworks shows in tight, urban areas.
- The old Harley Davidson building on the Parkway is demolished in July to make way for a luxury apartment building that is coming from the same developer (Post Road) that brought the Batch Yard to Lower Broadway a few years ago.
- Huntington Theatre in Boston announces in April that it will relocate its scene shop, prop shop and storage facility to the Owens Moving properties off of the Parkway. The official move in came July1, with the first set being built in Everett for ‘Merrily We Roll Along.’ A ribbon-cutting event took place on site Aug. 10.
- Long-time City Clerk Michael Matarazzo announces he will retire as of June 30. New City Clerk Sergio Cornelio is vote din by the City Council in August after a summer-long interview process.
- The City Election in November sees a close race in the at-large Council contest with Councilor Cynthia Sarnie finishing out of the money by 12 votes. Former Councilor Mike Marchese won a seat in a comeback bid and Councilor Stephen Simonelli pulls out a win against Challenger Stephanie Martins in Ward 2. Mayor Carlo DeMaria logged more than 3,000 votes in an uncontested re-election bid.
- Chuck-E-Cheese in the Gateway Mall made news for more than its pizza and arcade games in 2017. The Everett location was the recipient of a great deal of negative attention when a major fight broke out in the facility in February, injuring a pregnant woman•. The License Commission ruled in March that the restaurant will need to have police details on all school vacations. There were no further incidents after those early-2017 brawls in the children’s entertainment complex.
- Everett High School graduates more than 500 seniors at its commencement exercises on June 7 in the Stadium. The valedictorian was Conor Rachlin, and Supt. Fred Foresteire congratulated the seniors during the ceremony for a job well done.
- The Malden River Greenway effort kicked off in Everett, Malden and Medford in June. New plans and suggestions from the planning effort were unveiled in the fall, and are now in place headed into 2018.