The Revere Sand Sculpting Festival is already in a class by itself, annually drawing one million visitors to the city, before the pandemic wreaked havoc on all public events over the past two years.
But there is more exciting news ahead for Revere residents as Finance Director Richard Viscay told the Council Monday nightâ€™s of Mayor Brian Arrigoâ€™s plans to use some of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Acts) funds to launch a Revere Travel and Tourism Department.
Can you imagine an international bicycle race â€“ a Tour de Revere, perhaps – that begins and ends on Revere Beach Boulevard? A beach volleyball competition on the sands with Olympic-caliber competitors? Or even Disney-style parades, concerts, and fireworks spectaculars throughout the summer? Or how about a national cookoff to determine the best hot dogs in America â€“ but please, no hot-dog eating contests. Letâ€™s leave that to Coney Island.â€
Viscay updated the Council Monday night on President Joe Bidenâ€™s $1.9 trillion ARPA funding package that resulted in Revere receiving $30 million in funding directly from the U.S. Treasury.
â€œWe received $15 million of that allocation in August, and weâ€™re still waiting for the second half of that,â€ said Viscay, noting that the City is giving a $250 rebate to all homeowners in the city with the ARPA funds.
One major project to be funded through ARPA is the opening of a health and wellness center at 321 Charger Street.
The Travel and Tourism Department is being well received because it would not only bring outside visitors to the city and to the nationâ€™s first public beach, but also provide activities for Revere residents to enjoy year-round.
â€œIt hopefully will bring tourists to the City and have them spend their dollars in our restaurants and our hotels and such,â€ said Viscay.
Ward 4 Councillor Patrick Keefe asked about other potential uses of the $30 million in funds.
â€œWe left $5.3 million as a contingency because if thereâ€™s another [COVID] spike or surge, that money might have to go to the fight against the virus,â€ said Viscay. â€œIf we donâ€™t need more testing, perhaps more could go toward infrastructure or the like. But we plan on trying to use it as best as possible. We want to try to make some, long-term sustainable programs. We think a travel and tourism department and a health and wellness center will perpetuate long after this money goes away.â€
Many credit Mayor Arrigo for the resurgence of Revere Beach as a place where people want to live and work, and hotel and restaurant investors want to be. The view of the beach and the ocean from the beautiful SpringHill Suites Hotel is breathtaking, for example.
With a creative, energetic director of tourism running a well-funded department, the future of Revere Beach and the city itself is limitless in imagination.