By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Mayor Brian Arrigo offered hope and a clear direction for the City Monday night during his State of the City address in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
The packed hall included City Councillors, the School Committee members, friends, family and political watchers, including his son who did say “Dad” at one point in the speech.
A small group of women stood on the stairs holding signs in support of being a welcoming community.
With everyone settled in Arrigo began his speech with a nod toward the New England Patriots and stating that Quarterback Tom Brady “is the greatest of all time.”
Then Arrigo spoke of pride – in hard work, family and home. He also spoke of the professionalization of city hall, including a human resources department, a 311 call center, online services and electronic permitting.
“I am committed to a government that utilizes every tool and technology at our disposal to make it easier for you to interact with us,” he said.
Arrigo also talked about development in the city and the future of Wonderland Dog Park site. He announced that the mixed use approach, like that of 205 Revere Beach Parkway (Shaw’s site), is the kind of approach that he wants to see at Wonderland. The owners of the 34-acre site have signed an agreement with the city that within three months the owners will either sell the land, demolish the property or pay the City $100,000.
According to CBW Lending, owners of Wonderland, “we have worked cooperatively with the Mayor Arrigo and the City on maintaining and securing the Wonderland property, including new security fencing and Revere Police details, as we have explored development options for the property and as we have worked through the initial planning and permitting for the safe and orderly demolition of the main building and other structures. We look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor Arrigo and Revere officials to support the city’s development goals for the Wonderland area.”
‘The bigger victory for the city is that a sale is imminent,” Arrigo said. “Revere sits minutes from the epicenter of one of the most economically important metro regions in the world — one of 10 “Alpha Cities” in the U.S. that link major economic regions into the world economy. People and businesses want to invest in Revere, because of our easy access to that economic center. They want to buy homes, open offices, and enjoy the amenities Revere has to offer. That, in turn, generates significant tax revenue, creates jobs, and makes our community an even more vibrant place to live and work. We have tremendous opportunities because of our location, and because of our assets.”
Arrigo’s speech made little mention of the cities finances. This is the time of year when budgets begin to be worked on. City officials did hear over a week ago that the Governor’s budget would include an uptick in local aid with $57.8 million in Chapter 70 funds for schools and $10.2 million in the rest of the city budget.
Arrigo got choked up toward the end his speech when he gave his message to everyone in Revere.
“I’m not interested in getting in the middle of a national political debate that pins neighbors against one another.” he said. “What i am interested in is making sure that each and every one of you, whether here by birth or by choice, is treated with dignity and respect. I am incredibly proud to be the Mayor of this diverse, vibrant community.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said Arrigo’s speech was “refreshing” with transparent remarks about everything from development to the residents of Revere.
“He was positive in an age of technology with regards to city hall, paying bills and get information,” Powers said.
“Revere is lined up for great success,” said Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe
Council President Robert Haas Jr. said it was an excellent speech.
“The major points were hit on and he gave a real picture of the city and where it’s going,” said Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.