The COVID-19 pandemic and Mayor Brian Arrigo and his administrationâ€™s response to the unprecedented health crisis was the top story in Revere for 2020.
Mayor Arrigo was universally lauded for reacting quickly and decisively as the pandemic hit Revere very hard from the outset.
Arrigo established a COVID-19 emergency response team headed by Kim Hanton. The mayor held virtual town halls with health officials and kept an anxious citizenry updated daily on all aspects of the cityâ€™s response to crisis.
Food pantry operations were mobilized to assist those residents who were most severely impacted by the pandemic.
When individual testing for COVID-19 became available, residents took advantage of the testing sites in the city. Gov. Charlie Baker joined Mayor Arrigo in announcing a regional express COVID-19 testing site at Suffolk Downs.
All aspects of life in Revere were affected by the coronavirus. The Revere schools went to a remote-learning process. The Revere High spring and fall sports seasons were canceled in their entirety following a highly successful fall 2019 campaign under the leadership of Athletic Director Frank Shea. Revere restaurants were closed but are now operating at limited seating capacity. The Revere Sand Sculpting Festival that annually draws one million visitors to Revere Beach was canceled.
The Revere City Council and School Committee, as well as other boards in the city, held their meetings on Zoom, in addition to the fine broadcasting capabilities demonstrated by Revere TV Executive Director Bob Dunbar and his staff.
Today the COVID-19 pandemic is still hammering the city and Mayor Arrigo and his administration are continuing their efforts in helping residents in these unprecedented times. The announcement this month that a vaccine had become available for distribution has lifted spirits and the hope is that life will return to normal soon.
DeLeo Leaves as Speaker;
Vincent Announces her Retirement
As it turned out, the biggest political story of the year hit during the final week of 2020.
Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, who has served as state representative for Winthrop and Revere since 1991, announced Monday that he would be resigning as Speaker of the House and state representative. He delivered his farewell address in the House Chambers Tuesday afternoon.
State Rep. RoseLee Vincent had announced in February that she would be retiring from the position she has held for the past six years. The City Council honored Vincent with an outpouring of praise and respect for the outstanding manner in which she had represented Revere on Beacon Hill.
DeLeo disclosed last Friday that he was in negotiations with Northeastern University, his alma mater, about a teaching position at the school.
Giannno Elected State Representative
With the retirement of State Rep. RoseLee Vincent in the 16th Suffolk District, two candidates, Councillor-at-Large Jessica Giannino and Joe Gravellese ran for the seat in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 1.
It was a hard-fought election with two excellent candidates campaigning vigorously despite the COVID-19 pandemic eliminating the usual campaign receptions and door-to-door visits with residents.
Giannino and Gravellese faced off in the Revere Journal Candidates Debate, an historic event in that it was the first live broadcast at the new Revere TV headquarters located on Washington Avenue. Both candidates showed their exceptional knowledge of the issues during the debate.
Giannino, who had regularly topped the ticket in her previous races for councilor-at-large, ultimately prevailed in the Democratic Primary, defeating Gravellese. There was no Republican candidate for the office.
Giannino will be inaugurated next week as the state representative for the 16th Suffolk District. Giannino has announced that Richard Serino will continue in his capacity as legislative aide.
The Passing of Ronald Jannino Â Â
Ronald Jannino, Revereâ€™s popular and dedicated representative on the Northeast Regional School Committee, died on June 20. He was 75.
Mr. Jannino, who served in the position for 35 years, was credited with helping thousands of Revere students earn placement at the vocational high school in Wakefield. He was a goodwill ambassador for the school and looking forward to playing a key role in the design and construction of a new Northeast Regional high school.
The City Council unanimously appointed Melissa Jannino Elam, Mr. Janninoâ€™s daughter, to an interim position on the Regional School Committee.
In the November election for the seat, Anthony Caggiano, whose parents worked at Northeast and whose sons are alumni of the school, was elected. Caggiano will begin his four-term in January.
Mayor Arrigo names first-ever Cabinet
Mayor Brian Arrigo may become a national trendsetter with his innovative decision to form the first-ever Revere Cabinet to assist in the administering of city operations across the board.
Arrigo named the following individual to prestigious leadership positions in the Cabinet: Chief of Police David Callahan, Fire Chief Christopher Bright, Chief of Staff Robert Marra, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dianne Kelly, Chief Financial Officer Richard Viscay, Chief of Planning and Development Robert Oâ€™Brien, Chief of Innovation Reuben Kantor, Chief of Infrastructure and Public Works Don Ciaramella, Chief of Public Health and Human Services Kim Hanton, and Chief of Human Resources John Viarella.
Hanton is the new Chief of Staff to Mayor Arrigo, replacing Attorney Bob Marra, who decided to retire after an excellent tenure in the key position.
Revere Develops At A Brisk Pace
If youâ€™ve had the opportunity to walk or drive through Revere Beach Boulevard or Ocean Avenue, then youâ€™ve seen the incredible development going on in that area of the city.
Beautiful and modern residences are rising, new restaurants opening, and newcomers choosing Revere as an exciting, vibrant place to live.
Shirley Avenue has also experienced a dramatic rebirth, with new residences and businesses opening. Under the leadership of developer Jamie Russo, â€œThe Aveâ€ is perfectly situated near public transportation and it is becoming one of the most sought-after places to live, advancing the optimism that Mayor Brian Arrigo had for the area.
The Avid Hotel on American Legion Highway is a beautiful, new addition to the hospitality scene.
Major Renovations to Revere parks an Playground
Project manager Elle Baker of the Office of Strategic Planning and Commuity Development had an amazing year carrying out Mayor Arrigoâ€™s vision for the renovation of parks in the city. From Sonny Myers Park (located adjacent to the newly renovated Revere History Museum) to Gibson Park, Baker has been leading the way to give Revere families, especially children,Â new, modern, and safe facilities for outdoor recreational opportunities. With the state-of-the-art Harry Della Russo Stadium and the new fields and concession stand at Griswold Park (St. Maryâ€™s fields), Revere is becoming second to none in its parks and playgrounds. Ambrose Park is slated for a makeover and by this summer, neighborhood residents will be no doubt utilizing the park in high numbers. Baker is also collaborating with Ward 1 Councilor Joanne McKenna on the building of a community garden on Broadsound Avenue. The garden will be named in memory of former city councillor and popular Revere resident Corey Abrams. In a related note, Baker will be playing a key role in Mayor Arrigoâ€™s newly formed Public Art Commission.