Need Feedback: Council Seeks Resident Input Regarding Future Use of Former Pope John XXIII

City Council members at last week’s meeting made it very clear that they want neighborhood feedback before they vote on what to do with the former Pope John High XXIII High School site.

At last week’s meeting, members from the team at The Neighborhood Developers (TND) gave an overview of their proposed affordable housing plans for the Broadway site, hoping to have the council vote for the disposition of the site at 588 Broadway by transferring ownership to TND.

The current plans call for 76 units of family housing and 62 units of senior housing.  Everett residents are guaranteed 70% of these units.

The TND team told the council of the desperate need for affordable housing in the city, as evidenced by the overwhelming demand for affordable units at TND’s St. Theresa’s development. TND officials said that there were 77 units of senior housing and six single-family homes that were placed into the lottery. They said there were more than 540 applications for the senior housing, of whom 170 were Everett residents, and more than 338 families had applied for the single-family housing, of whom 104 were Everett residents.

There will be parking for 110 cars at the Pope John site and it is estimated that the city will receive in the vicinity of $200,000 per year in taxes.  The project will be managed by both TND and Hebrew Senior Life.

The City Council voted to acquire the Pope John site in 2019 after the school had become insolvent. The city has spent more than $10 million to buy and maintain the building to-date.

TND was the only bidder on the project when it went out to bid in 2021. Erin Deveney, Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s Chief of Staff, said that the building has many deferred maintenance issues, and when the school was built more than 60 years ago, many of the state’s present-day mandatory accessibility requirements were not in force.

“This school is not ready for students,” said Deveney, addressing the issue of whether the former school building could be used to relieve overcrowding in the city’s public schools. She also noted that it takes time to get into the state school pipeline for money to repair and upgrade the school.

“The Webster School roof took more than a year to get the state funds, “ she added.

The neighborhood meeting date has not been set, but was tentatively scheduled for August.

In other matters, the council voted to accept the following donations:

An order recommending the acceptance of donations totaling $14,000.00 for the Summer Jobs Program from the following:

The Leavitt Corporation $1,000.00, Malden Transportation $1,000.00, Davis Management Co. $2,500,00, Greystar Development $5,000.00, Everett Coop Bank $2,500.00, Everett Supply & True Value $1,000.00, and Dagle Electrical Construction $1,000.00

The council also voted to accept the following grants:

An order recommending the acceptance of a grant from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in the amount of $36,276.00 to support a COVID-safe cooling project;

An order recommending the acceptance of a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, in the amount of $20,150.00 for marine safety and training equipment; and

An order recommending the acceptance of a grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Environmental Protection, in the amount of $40,450.00 for the installation of infiltration trenches for stormwater and groundwater recharge.

The council unanimously voted to approve the following budget items for FY 2022:

An order recommending the approval of the Fiscal Year 2023 General Fund Budget as submitted by His Honor the Mayor and as amended by the City Council in the amount of $239,396,734.00;

An order recommending the approval of the Fiscal Year 2023 Water & Sewer Enterprise Fund Budget as submitted by His Honor the Mayor in the amount of $21,825,523.00;

An order recommending the approval of the Fiscal Year 2023 Everett Cable TV Enterprise Fund Budget as submitted by His Honor the Mayor in the amount of $589,400.00; and

An order recommending the approval of the Fiscal Year 2023 Capital Improvement Plan as submitted by His Honor the Mayor in the amount of $31,394,800.00.

The Council also voted to schedule its two meeting dates for the summer on July 11 and August 8.

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