By Sue Ellen Woodcock
A new year for the City Council means more projects ahead for the councillors., both in their wards and across the city.
Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna said she has three goals for the upcoming year. First, to create an MBTA bus stop at the Target and Stop & Shop stores off Furlong Ave. She said a variety of people use the walkway to do their shopping in all kinds of weather.
Her second goal is to fix up Donnelly Square.
“It’s a traffic nightmare and it is not pedestrian friendly,” she said, adding that she’d like to get the MBTA busses off Winthrop Avenue and make a turnaround for the busses in the MBTA parking lot. “This way two lanes of traffic coming into Beachmont can be created.
Her third goal is to work with the City Council to make the city of Revere be residential permit parking for all.
Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso said there are so many issues. Taxes and water rates are always a concern, but parking is also an issue. He would like to see neighborhoods cleaned up by stopping commercial vehicles from being able to park on the streets overnight.
Guinasso would also like the see the practice of “tagging” (illegally spray painting property) carry heavier fines.
“My concern is always public safety and we need stronger law enforcement when it comes to tagging,” Guinasso said, adding that the taggers should be caught and pay for the damage instead of the property owner having to pay for it.
“Some of my top priorities are to continue to build off 2016’s progress and bring Revere together,” said Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe. “I’d like to improve the quality of life for residents, with improved responsiveness to their needs, this will always come first as a Ward Councillor.”
Keefe would like to continue to work with parking enforcement and code enforcement to help reduce the number of homes that are over crowded and becoming a burden to their neighbors and city services. He would also work with city officials to continue to impact and combat the substance abuse issues in the city.
“Over the last few years the region has taken greater steps to deal with this issue however we are far from out of the woods and need to keep up the pressure,” Keefe said.
Like many of the councillors Keefe wants to help the future growth and development in Revere, especially commercial development. He’d like to see Suffolk Downs and Wonderland turn into destination developments that truly support Revere today and in the future..
In his ward, Keefe would like to work with the administration of Mayor Brian Arrigo to put the old McKinley School property to good use.
“There’s potential in the site rather then just letting it sit and stand idle, maybe its offices or we can use it for recreational space as we don’t have a true recreation center, or an expanded senior center. Maybe I am naïve but it’s a 2017 wish of mine,” Keefe said.
For Ward 5 Councillor John Powers the new year hopefully will bring the demolition of the Wonderland dog track property. He called it a “dangerous property” in need of getting a potential developer in to help generate revenue for the city. He’s also looking forward to the clean up and removal of a structure at 1069 North Shore Road and 565 North Shore Road. The city now owns the property at 1069 North Shore Road and plans to tear it down. Powers said the other property, an old refrigeration plant, has so far accrued $150,000 in fines related to the condition of the building.
The cleanup and opening of the Point of Pines fire station is also on Powers’ mind. With 1,500 new units of housing in the city, he firmly believes the station needs to be up and running.
“There’s potential for a serious situation needing a quick response from the fire department,” he said.
Powers also wants to see the Department of Public Works (DPW) receive adequate facilities and believes the old McKinley School would be perfect for the DPW offices. He also wants to see stronger traffic enforcement around the city.
“We’ve got more cars, a lot of moving violations and that makes for a dangerous situation,” Powers said.
Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch said he’d like to see work done to alleviate the traffic congestion problem on Route 1 and Squire Road. On Route 1 the traffic goes from three lanes down to two lanes at the Route 60 exit and then back to three lanes up by Kappy’s in Saugus.
“It creates a bottleneck and it backs up at Squire Road (Route 60),” Patch said. “Everyone loves Market Basket and the store, but the roads have to be corrected. It’s way overdue and slows up everything. The lights also are not timed right.”
Patch said the traffic also ends up backing up on Washington Street when people use that as a shortcut to Squire Road.
Councillors-at-Large George Rotondo, Anthony Zambuto, and Steve Morabito are also looking out for the city when it comes to goals and ideas for the new year.
Rotondo said he has three issues he’d like to see worked on: a tiered water system where the rate is based on usage; opposition to residential building development and holding the mayor to his commitments.
For the tiered water system, as opposed to the flat rate paid now by Revere residents, the rate would be based on how many cubic feet of water are used. He said it is not fair to seniors and others on fixed incomes to have an eight unit property pay the same rate as a one unit property. He noted that Malden and other communities have the tiered-use system.
“I will also oppose all major residential building. I believe we need a plan for the city and we don’t have one. We have no commercial growth and too much apartment growth. We need to focus on commercial,” Rotondo said.
Zambuto said economic development, commercial growth are areas of concern for him. He’d also like to see fewer “feel good” motions from the council and more motions with substance.
“I tell the truth, which is not popular. I’m honest and its painful to hear the truth,” Zambuto said, pointing to the issue of Wheelabrator, which he supports. “If it’s good for the city, I will support it. If it’s bad for the city, I’ll vote against it.”
Morabito said that in 2017, the City Council must move forward in maintaining effective city services, minimizing tax rates, organizing parking and having conversations about economic development.
“These are some of many items to focus on for the New Year,” Morabito said. “I believe in the City Council members and our ability to work together with Mayor Brian Arrigo, to solve our most challenging problems.”
Council President Jessica Giannino said she wants to develop a comprehensive plan to deal with the parking issues throughout the city and develop a residential plan to work in each ward. She also wants to work on bringing more commercial development to the city.
“Revere needs more places to shop, eat and enjoy all that the city has to offer,” she said. “Revere has several large parcels of land that could be great areas to develop.”
Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky and Councilor-at-Large Robert Haas were not available for comment.