By Mayor Brian Arrigo
In just a few days, school buses will be rolling—a sure sign that summer is approaching an end. But what a busy summer it was—at least from the perspective of all that has happened in the City of Revere.
When the weather turns favorable, our work crews hit the streets. In some cases, literally, as in milling and paving. Since April, dozens of streets and sidewalks have been newly paved and improved as we embarked on the most aggressive schedule of road and sidewalk repair in recent history. The work will continue into the fall as we continue the massive project that began three years ago to address the backlog of unattended roads and public access areas that plagued our city.
Meanwhile, our efforts to improve the quality of life for all residents took form across the City. Gibson Park in the Point of Pines was completely reconstructed and now features a new playground, a driving net for golfers, and a thriving community garden.
Next week, another “Community Build” will restore Consiglia Della Russo Park near the Paul Revere School to new glory. Work is in progress to rebuild Curtis Park adjacent to the Garfield School into a modern ball field and new basketball courts.
Our city has taken on a fresh and welcoming appearance. Revere Beach Boulevard is festooned with banners that depict the beach’s colorful history in “A Stroll Through Time.” Fifteen different sites in our city are now home to Little Free Libraries, each uniquely painted to add a sense of welcome. Project Switchbox, which uses the drab face of utility boxes as a canvas for multicolored artwork, welcomed four new designs this summer. And we are awaiting approval for funds to continue the mural project that will enliven various underpasses in the city in a way that matches the success of the mural now adorning the Sargent Street.
We obtained approval for funding to renovate the exterior of the Revere Historical Museum on Beach Street; design work is underway and we anticipate work will be underway next summer. We also completed the bid documents to for a project to pave the Northern Strand Community Trial that will connect Revere with neighboring communities along an 11-mile recreational trail.
Our Safe Streets program is overseeing the installation of distinctive signage, crosswalks, and street art designed to improve pedestrian safety in critical areas of our city, especially near schools.
When we speak of “quality of life” issues, we mean more than just parks and public areas. It means making the city prepared for challenges that lie ahead. After completing the state Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program, we have prepared an application for state funding to conduct a feasibility study to build coastal resiliency in the Riverside and Point of Pines neighborhoods, where the threat of rising ocean levels looms ominously.
Sometimes, the success of municipal endeavors is evident in things we don’t see. Our Water and Sewer Department was in the trenches clearing, cleaning, or rebuilding catch basins throughout the city. Culvert repairs, storm drain improvements, pump station upgrades, and tide gate maintenance helped ease the flow of storm water along our streets during one of the rainiest summers in recent years. What don’t you see as a result? You don’t see the massive puddles on street corners after simple routine rainfall. As we continue this work, which had been neglected for decades, we hope to alleviate much of the stormwater-related flooding issues that afflict our neighborhoods.
Our Parks and Recreation Department has just wrapped up one of its busiest summers ever. Thousands of residents of all ages participated in sports camps for T-Ball, soccer, basketball, and tennis. The Rec Department ran a successful adult softball league, conducted a lacrosse skill camp, and conducted a summer basketball league. Future sleuths got to check out spy equipment like metal detectors and night-vision glasses at the Mad Science Spy-Agent Lab camp. For those youngsters with a future eye toward medical school, there was the Wicked Cool Med School where participants learned about the inner workings of the human body. The Parks and Rec Department made sure everyone found something to do, from Dance Revolution, to Sea Kayaking, to Big Bounce America, to the Saturday Night Concert Series and Movies on the Beach. And that’s not to mention the field trips to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire, TreeTop Adventures in Canton, Southwick Zoo in Mendon, and Six Flags New England in Springfield. And six parks across the city were staffed with summer counselors four hours per day, Monday through Friday.
Yes, Parks and Rec was busy—and coming soon, their similarly-creative winter schedule, along with a new Community Recreation center at the Garfield School.
Throughout the summer, thousands of beachgoers enjoyed the sand and surf at our precious Revere Beach. In July, our city hosted over a million visitors who enjoyed the annual Revere Beach International Sand Sculpting Festival, where we unveiled our new Mobile City Hall which now makes weekly visits to bring city services into our neighborhoods.
Yes, it’s been a lively summer in the City of Revere. And the work continues. I don’t want to ruin the end of your summer, but the Department of Public Works is starting the process to make sure their snowplows and sanders are ready to roll when the weather isn’t so nice.
But let’s enjoy the good weather while we still have it. And let’s enjoy the good times. Our city is flourishing with unprecedented energy, vision, and activity. Summer—and Fall, and Winter and Spring—Revere is a great place to call “home.”
Brian Arrigo is Mayor of the City of Revere.