Guest Op-Ed: Vision and Experience Bringing Positive Change to Everett

By Mayor Carlo DeMaria

There is growing excitement in Everett about all the positive changes that we will be able to realize with new, clean development in critical business areas in our City. The changes are the result of the hard work that has been underway to create and implement an overall strategic plan to bring new job opportunities and important new revenue streams into Everett for the benefit of all our residents.

In 2011, the communities surrounding Everett were seeing investments being made in them for important projects like new public transportation opportunities and new commercial development. It was not acceptable that Everett was being overlooked. We deserved those same opportunities and attention. We sought the advice of state economic development officials on how to move Everett forward. That advice was to create a master plan for an area of Everett that was available for development.

We took that advice and created the Lower Broadway Master Plan in 2012. That planning process was an intensive undertaking that included more community meetings and opportunities for public participation than the City had ever seen. While every resident may not have agreed on the plan, everyone in our community deserved their voice and opinion to be heard.

This planning process enabled Everett to secure the Encore site. Encore has served as an economic catalyst for Everett. It yielded the largest construction project in Massachusetts history with the most job opportunities for women in professional trades. It has generated $30 million dollars a year in new revenue for Everett that has helped bring residential tax bills down without the City having to compromise on service delivery to its residents. Over five hundred jobs were created for Everett residents. In the past year, Encore also has invested an additional $7 million dollars in our community by supporting local Everett businesses.

The development on Lower Broadway has helped us gain the recognition for all the possibilities that we have always known exist in Everett. This Administration filed an amendment to the Lower Broadway Master Plan to show how the area opposite Encore also should be converted from dirty industrial uses to vibrant new options like entertainment venues, restaurants, and hotels. Like all our other efforts, this plan was developed from the perspective of how we could continue to find new and better uses for land in Everett that will generate job opportunities and new revenue sources for our entire community. We also will use the interest in developing other parcels on Lower Broadway to negotiate for new public private partnerships for important infrastructure upgrades that will alleviate traffic congestion by allowing for additional rapid bus transit lanes and more creative pedestrian access that will help our residents and visitors get to their destination more quickly.

The availability of the Exxon site once again makes Everett a perfect location for the hottest economic development in the Commonwealth. This is prime acreage to support the booming life sciences industry that will be adding 40,000 jobs in Massachusetts by 2024. Our residents deserve those opportunities. The zoning amendment this Administration filed will make sure our City and our residents will be able to decide the types of jobs and revenue we want to see in this part of our community.

The changes that we have seen in Everett have been important. We have created smart, strategic plans to continue this momentum and bring more positive changes to our city. We will continue to work together as a community to build the future we all want and deserve.

 Carlo DeMaria is the Mayor of Everett.

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