By Councilor Peter A. Napolitano
For the past 20 years, I have been stating that the City of Everett is in the crossroads of the future. In that time there has been many changes to our community setting the stage for the most dramatic six months in Everett’s history. The first half of this year has seen many positive changes that will continue to evolve Everett into a modern 21st century city over the next decade.
The past few years have been financially difficult for a number of reasons. The cost of upgrading city infrastructure in preparation of the Casino and cuts in State aid to our schools has placed a burden on all our taxpayers. We have received only a few small pilot payments from Encore to date which mostly was used to maintain the level of education in our schools. This year the City Council passed the Mayor’s Budget ensuring that the School system is fully funded for growth and most importantly, no lay-offs. Funding has also been allocated to upgrade our roadways and sidewalks, our parks and playgrounds, arrange for developmental plans to redesign and revitalize our downtown and other under-utilized parts of the City and making sure our Police and Fire departments have what they need to provide quality public safety to our community.
The City Council conducted numerous meetings earlier this year to make sure that our City can handle the grand opening of the Encore Boston Harbor resort. With an approximately additional 25,000 people attending the casino on any given weekend, traffic and parking fears never materialized and the Casino generated $4.2 million dollars in tax revenue the first week. For our non-gambling residents, the river walk provides a beautifully breathtaking view of the Mystic River from Route 99 to Route 16 and is open to the public with access to the Malden River. We have never had such access to the water front and additional access is being developed on the recently remediated GE property. Finally, recent legislation passed by Governor Baker will clear the way to develop the old St. Therese property into 77 affordable rental units for seniors, aged 62 and older with a new health center on the ground floor.
In closing, progress is never easily accomplished. It takes vision, planning, patience and persistence. These past few months are just the start of things to come. Lower Broadway will continue to develop into an entertainment district with the plans for Phase 2 to be unveiled sometime next year. Plans to redeveloped Everett Square will need a marriage of new construction, renovating our existing structures and adding badly needed residential units and parking. The knowledge and experience of your City Government will continue to ensure that our community continues to evolve the City of Everett to the next level with your support. Have a great summer.