Mayor Brian Arrigo began his presentation at the Feb. 22 City Council meeting by expressing his gratitude to the development advisory group that “came up with” the RiverFront Master Plan.
Arrigo’s remarks came during a public hearing about amending the city’s zoning ordinances relative to the establishment of the Revere RiverFront Overlay District.
At its Feb. 9 meeting, the Planning Board unanimously approved the RiverFront Master Plan that will transform the 20 acres of properties on the Pines River bordering Lynn, with Gibson Park sitting squarely in the middle of the proposed development. One of the exciting portions of the project is the potential siting of a community boating center adjacent to Gibson Park.
“For far too long, the area [the Revere Riverfront District] has been one that has been severely overlooked and one I think will be a tremendous improvement for our city,” said Arrigo. “If you think about the location – you have this hodgepodge of industrial uses, open space, and uses that are not complimentary and not really compatible – but it’s been like that for so long, that it takes a little bit of time to really understand how it could be improved.
“And that’s exactly what this Master Plan will attempt to do.”
Arrigo said the Seaport Economic Council, chaired by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and consisting of state and local officials, had an incredibly positive reaction to the proposal for the district.
“Just the idea of transforming a former tow yard and garage space is one thing – but when you think about the boatyard and what that’s looked like and how that’s really diminished over the course of a number of years, this Master Plan will be a real dynamic change to that [Riverside, Point of Pines] neighborhood,” said Arrigo.
The mayor termed the RiverFront district “our northern gateway to the city.”
“For it to be the North Shore’s first impression of Revere is important,” said Arrigo. “That gateway at this point doesn’t really provide a particularly inviting gateway, but it really truly does have the opportunity and we’ll see that through with this Master Plan.”
Arrigo concluding his remarks by thanking the development staff led by Director of Planning and Community Development Bob O’Brien for their leadership on the Master Plan effort.
Chief Planner and Zoning Coordinator Frank Stringi told the Council, “This will be the fourth overlay district that we have created in the city, going back to Overlook Ridge Overlay District, the Wonderland Overlay District, and the Suffolk Downs Overlay District.”
“This overlay district is somewhat special as the mayor said – it’s not as large as the other ones, but it occupies the northwestern corner of our city – the Point of Pines, and it’s been unsightly for years, a real eyesore coming over the General Edwards Bridge,” added Stringi.
He said the RiverFront Overlay District is an outgrowth of the RiverFront Master Plan “and its main objective is to repurpose this area of the waterfront as a public use asset for Revere residents.”
The Planning Board at its Feb. 25 meeting unanimously approved the overlay district for the site. Planning Board member Catherine Penn commented on the plans, “there are so many activities for the youth, it is wonderful.”
Chairman Louis Ciarlone echoing the sentiment said, “this is such a mixed use of the site for the residents and not focusing solely on housing.” Council President Anthony Zambuto referred the next discussion of the matter to the March 8 (5 p.m.) Zoning Subcommittee meeting. Some councilors indicated they want to speak further on different aspects of the project, notably the residences that are being considered for the G and J Towing site.