There’s Gotta Be a Better Way
After reviewing the city council’s discussion and decision regarding the renaming of Unity Ave, to use Councilor Visconti’s words, we are quite “surprised.” Surprised and disappointed by the unfair process, lack of consideration for the impact their act will have on street residents, lack of consideration of the cost to the city for making such a change, and lack of patience to allow time for other, possibly more sensible ideas to be offered and considered. A recommendation from one unnamed “prominent Beachmont family” should not be all that is required for a councilor to propose a street name change. Direct notices to and conversations with the Unity Ave residents and community groups should have taken place before the motion was filed.
As residents of Beachmont, and residents of Revere, we want to see a fair and inclusive process in this matter. Some of us come from families who have been in Beachmont for generations and others for a shorter period of time. We too are “prominent” Beachmont families. And so are the residents of Unity Ave.
Many of us have very fond memories of the Previte family, and we all agree the family should be honored. But, not by renaming Unity Ave. We believe there are much better ways of honoring the family that: will improve the Unity Ave area; will put the City’s money to better use; and will not create hardships for the residents that live on Unity Ave. There are many other families in Beachmont who have dedicated their lives to public service and veterans who have given their lives in service to our country and have been honored. Yet most, if not all, have been honored by having parks named after them, not streets.
We believe the city, the neighborhood and the Previte Family would be better served if the funds needed to affect the renaming of Unity Ave, were put to use to improve the green space at the top of the hill and to name it “Previte Park on Unity Ave”. With proper landscaping and lighting the park would become a shining beacon overlooking Beachmont Square. This, we believe, would be a more fitting tribute than a street name change. We also believe that with fundraising efforts, those who truly want to honor the Previte family, could help by financially contributing to the park, thereby reducing the costs to the city. The Beachmont Improvement Committee has identified this space as one of its neighborhood improvement projects and along with others, has offered to help in coordinating a fundraising event to raise funds for the park.
We find it interesting that in a previous name change proposal that night, the city council voted unanimously for its approval even though no one appeared to support or oppose the motion. No one even explained why the change was being requested. Yet when the Unity Ave name change came up for a vote, and there were opponents trying to propose alternative ideas that would be less costly and not present hardships to Unity Ave residents, no one, save two councilors, were willing to take the time to consider community input and concerns. Kudos to Councilors Rizzo and Powers for proposing a delay on the vote, and kudos to councilor Powers for voting no on the name change. And, to those who voted yes on the motion, we ask: What’s the Hurry? What is your justification for rushing the vote and not to taking the time to allow more community input and alternative ideas for properly recognizing the Previte Family? The current Ward 1 Councilor who supported the motion and voted for immediate approval, has always stressed that area residents should be consulted and should approve proposed changes in their neighborhoods. Why did that not happen in this case?
We need take the time to create a collaborative process and make this well-intentioned motion become something that we can all agree is a truly fitting honor to a great Beachmont family, one that will benefit Unity Ave Residents, the Beachmont neighborhood and the city as a whole. To do this, we ask that there be a reconsideration of the vote that was taken and that the city council act to truly represent all their constituents by giving them all a voice in the process and a chance to develop a compromise solution.
Let’s keep Unity in the street name and promote Unity in the process of honoring a great Beachmont family.