Mayor DeMaria Files Plan with City Council for Everett Square

Mayor Carlo DeMaria has submitted his concept plan for the Urban Renewal Plan (URP) of Everett Square to the City Council, a document that discusses major changes and property acquisitions to the Square.

The URP – brought by the Everett Redevelopment Authority (ERA) – has been long in the making and relies upon several other studies in its formation, including the Everett Square Action Plan from 2016 done by Utile. It is a study that was called for by the City Council, and acted on in the last few years by the mayor and the administration.

In a recent meeting with business leaders, Mayor DeMaria said he was very happy to get the plan underway. He also said that if a property is blighted, they would be looking to take it under the URP.

That was repeated in no uncertain terms in the plan submitted to the Council, which is slated to be discussed on Feb. 11.

“The vision serves as the foundation on which the URP recommendations were developed,” read the report. “Plan implementation is expected to increase employment opportunities and tax revenue, increase commercial occupancy rates, and improve the adjacent neighborhood area.  Redevelopment within the URA involves strategic acquisition, potential business relocation, spot clearance, environmental assessment, parcel assemblage, infrastructure improvements, and, ultimately, the disposition of

development sites.”

The most exciting part of the plan right off the bat are the proposed public actions to be taken, which include suggestions to take several properties.

The concept plan calls for the ERA to acquire 29 properties or portions of properties and transfer 11 municipal properties to the ERA. That assemblage of property would result in 10 parcels ready for redevelopment.

The plan also recommends that 10 new buildings be constructed on those parcels, and that 18 existing properties be rehabilitated.

“Façade improvements are encouraged where feasible to restore original features and improve aesthetics,” read the report. “Proposed uses for new or rehabilitated properties within the URA include business, mixed-use residential and commercial, hospitality, and municipal facilities. The URP is expected to have a 20- to 25-year implementation phase.”

Other actions include:

•Modifying the intersection of Broadway and School Street to make a more versatile and pedestrian-friendly area that could also be a public plaza for special events.

•Provide new green spaces in the URP, particularly at a new City Hall and the Old Everett High School.

•Extend Marlboro Street from Victoria Street to Broadway.

• Implement Complete Street and streetscape improvements in Everett Square, including signalization/pedestrian crossing adjustments at four intersections, curb extensions at three unsignalized intersections, the addition of bicycle lanes, and improving connections to the Northern

Strand Community Trail.

• Install wayfinding signage consistent with an areawide signage and wayfinding program.

The City plans to use a new mixed-use zoning overlay district to accomplish the plan, and that would include encouraging retail, commercial, residential and public uses. It would also include a new parking plan for the area.

“The new overlay district will also establish reduced off-street parking requirements, instead relying more on shared public parking, public

transportation, and lower vehicular trip generation rates associated with the walkable, mixed-use type of development envisioned,” read the plan.

The plan focuses on the idea that the Square is classified as “Decadent,” which means that it is improbable that the area would be redeveloped per the ordinary operations of private enterprise. It also means that the area is in such disrepair and so obsolete that it could not be rehabilitated through simple repairs, but rather only through wholesale change. The plan is more than 100 pages long, and examines every parcel of land and its ownership on the Broadway Corridor from Sweetser Circle to Lexington/Hosmer Streets.

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