If the size of the crowd is any indication, the city’s master plan, known as Next Stop Revere, is off to a spectacular start.
Mayor Brian Arrigo stood in front of the capacity, standing-room audience inside the Rumney Marsh Academy auditorium and his optimism for the city’s future was felt throughout the hall. That enthusiasm was affirmed when the mayor humbly introduced himself, and the crowd erupted in spontaneous applause.
“The city has engaged in a partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), which is a group of expert planners in the Commonwealth, who are going to help us think about the next 20 years in the city of Revere,” began Arrigo. “It’s incredibly exciting to have this opportunity to think about the next 20 years of our city.”
Arrigo turned the program over to MAPC officials, Ralph Willmer and Betsy Cowan, who are working with the city in preparing the master plan. Willmer was impressed with the large assemblage, calling it “a record-breaking” turnout for an event of this nature.
Willmer, co-project manager, defined a master plan as “a strategic framework for future land use decision making in the city of Revere for housing, economic development, parks and open space, things along those lines.”
“We’ll be looking at how the city has changed over time and with input from meetings like this and other meetings, we’re going to develop a vision for the city and identify goals and objectives,” said Willmer.
He said the MAPC will recommend specific strategies for the implementation of the master plan.
Cowan noted the future development opportunities in the city such as the Wonderland Park site, the former NECCO property, and the plans for the Suffolk Downs site, “which is going to affect the overall development of our [master] plan.”
Cowan said the process will include community meetings, surveys, and workshops. There will be community forums in the spring and feedback from residents will be sought throughout the process. She said the final master plan will be submitted to the Planning next winter.
She also assured the audience that there will be an implementation plan for the master plan.
Wendy Millar-Page, executive director of the Revere Chamber of Commerce, said she was excited about the available spaces in Revere and the potential for “smart development, affordable housing as well good retail and commercial space use, maybe some mixed-used properties.
Rafael Mares, executive director of The Neighborhood Developers and a member of the master plan steering committee, said it’s important to engage the community in the process and Tuesday’s event was a fantastic start.
“I think it’s a really exciting process,” said Mares. Revere hasn’t done this [a master plan] since 1971. To be able to be here with a room full of people, a standing room only crowd, it’s amazing to see that many showing up and being interested, and it’s really what a planning process is about.”
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe said the city has obviously been energized by the master plan and its potential to transform Revere.
“This is a tremendous turnout and it just goes to show you how invested our community is and what’s happening with the future of Revere,” said Keefe. “We’re a city on the rise. It’s a great place to live and raise a family. I’m proud of being from Revere, living in Revere, and I’m happy about the future we have in front of us. It’s very exciting.”
Other elected officials in attendance at the event were City Councillors Anthony Zambuto, John Powers, and Ira Novoselsky, and School Committee members Carol Tye, Michael Ferrante, and Stacey Rizzo, and Gerry Visconti. Members of the master plan steering committee were also in attendance.