By Brian Arrigo, Mayor
I take great pride in being from the City of Revere. For my entire professional career, I’ve worn being a 4th-generation Revere resident as a badge of honor. I’m now raising the 5th generation of my family in Revere, and I couldn’t be more excited to raise my son here in our community.
Unfortunately, when you leave the confines of Revere, the city’s name doesn’t always come with a stellar reputation. That’s unfortunate, because those of us who live here know this city is home to good, hard-working people; it has outstanding public schools; it’s conveniently located near downtown Boston and the North Shore; and we boast the best beach in Greater Boston. As a city, despite our challenges, we have incredible potential.
So why does a negative image about Revere persist?
One reason is that negligent, absentee property owners have been able to get away with owning dilapidated and run-down buildings, causing blight that reflects negatively on our city. That is not acceptable and we should not let it slide. If we are to better our image and attract the kind of private investment that the city needs, we need to make sure that we’re taking pride in our city. That comes from making sure we diligently clean up problem areas and make a real commitment to beautifying every neighborhood.
We need to go far beyond special community clean-up events to pick up trash or paint over graffiti. These events are fantastic, and we’ll continue to host such opportunities around the city each year. However, we need a cultural shift – an expectation that everyone is expected to show respect for this community and its residents.
That means there should be no exceptions and no special treatment when it comes to the enforcement of building and health codes. It means fining and pressuring those, especially absentee landlords and banks, who fail to maintain properties while also overcrowding units and taking advantage of people with unfair rents in illegal apartments, dragging down the quality of life of entire neighborhoods.
It means making sure that new construction in the city is held to a high standard of quality and design, and making sure that building makes sense with the needs of the community.
To that end, our Inspectional Services Department and Board of Health have rolled out a new computerized database and systemized deployment program that allows for consistent follow up on reported blighted properties, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. All information from inspections is also logged so that all city staff can go back and view a comprehensive report on past violations and inspections at various properties.
All inspections are now tracked in the database and properties are assigned a priority level indicating how frequently follow-up inspections should be carried out. Systematic, regularly-scheduled follow-up creates more predictability, consistency and accountability. Additionally, each inspector is now being assigned to a specific quadrant of the city, allowing them to become more familiar with every day conditions and more likely to notice triggers for an inspection or a follow up.
Our goal is not to levy fines, but rather to get everybody to join in taking pride in where we live, taking care of our city, getting rid of blight and correcting violations. The use of this new database is an example of my administration’s commitment to using data and technology to better inform government decisions and improve city services.
Let’s all join in this commitment to roll up our sleeves, beautify our neighborhoods, and take pride in Revere.