The Revere City Council sharply criticized National Grid during a hearing about the installation of an underground conduit on Campbell Avenue for HYM’s development project at Suffolk Downs.
Alex Glanville, a representative of National Grid, took the brunt of the Council’s remarks at the speaking podium inside the Council Chambers.
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky was the first to unleash his anger, stating, “National Grid has done nothing to appease the neighbors and the councillors up here of what’s been going on in the City of Revere. I know that HYM are great people, but right now you are totally destroying the roadways and the sidewalks of Ward 1 and Ward 2. I’m just so totally disgusted, and I will not vote for this or any other new poles. I am totally against National Grid until they show some good faith.”
Councillor-at-Large Anthony Zambuto tried to deflect Novoselsky’s critical remarks. “With all due respect to my colleagues, we bite our nose off to spite our face here,” said Zambuto. “We can have a separate meeting with National Grid and put some pressure on them to fix these roadways, but please don’t hurt the developers and the businesses that are going to give us the growth in the future here. Let’s not single out National Grid because they’re not doing the right thing. Let’s not deny progress.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers complained about National Grid’s failure to make repairs on a pole situated near the B and M train tracks in his ward. “I’m not voting for anything for National Grid until that happens now or in the future,” said Powers.
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna was very direct in her criticism, telling the company’s representative, “I’m not in favor of anything by National Grid and I’ll tell you why: For three months National Grid has been tearing up Winthrop Avenue. What happened was, it was a Friday and they [workers] wanted to leave, so they just took the asphalt out of the truck and put it around the plate to secure the plate. They didn’t secure or roll the asphalt. So, the asphalt was everywhere – it was on people’s property, on the sidewalks, on the streets, cars were rolling over it.”
McKenna said she called a National Grid official for assistance and “I was on a Zoom call with the regional manager for two-and-half hours and he said, ‘No.’’ McKenna said she called Revere Chief of Infrastructure and Engineering Donny Ciaramella and he immediately addressed the problem.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro also pointed out the lack of cooperation by National Grid. “I’ve seen port-o-potties left by subcontractors. I’ve seen generators, trucks, cones, with pieces of plow laying around. We don’t need that stuff. I will not support another thing until National Grid starts treating Revere properly,” concluded Cogliandro.
Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo took a different tact, offering, “In reality, what are we doing by holding up development projects? There has to be a point where we have a separate meeting and talk about what needs to be done in the city. Like Councillor Zambuto said, ‘Let’s not cut off our noses to spite our faces.’ “I’m going to support your project. I think we can actually move forward with a project and address issues that councillors have problems with.”
Councillor-at-Large Steven Morabito said the Council voted to approve HYM’s Suffolk Downs project “and now we have them coming up here for an electrical conduit, and we’re going to vote them down. It just doesn’t make sense. I will be voting in favor of this.”
Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri said he would be supporting the request by National Grid, “but hopefully you can bring back the sentiment of the Council and let them know that we’re just not happy.”
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said he wanted to hold National Grid “accountable, but I will be supportive because these [installations] do help an actual resident or an actual business. But I will say that we need to establish a formal way to do this to hold [National Grid] more accountable and not hurt the citizens or business owners in the city.”
Novoselsky concluded his barrage of negative feelings about National Grid by asking that the company’s request for the installation of an electrical conduit be referred to the Council’s Public Works subcommittee.
Near the conclusion of the discussion, a representative of National Grid Electric based in Malden pledged more cooperation with the City Council on repairs in the future.
Council President Gerry Visconti then officially referred the issue to the Public Works subcommittee for further discussion.”