Mayor Highlights Optimism, Unity In First State of the City Address

By Adam Swift

In his first official State of the City address last week, Mayor Patrick Keefe hit on themes of optimism and unity as he moves forward as the city’s leader.

While Keefe was in the spotlight, he shared the stage with several others who took time to speak about Revere’s rich history and bright future, including former Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo.

Revere Mayor Patrick Keefe with Fire Department Chief
Christopher Bright.
Revere Mayor Patrick Keefe
embraces former Massachusetts Speaker Of The House Bob DeLeo as he heads to the podium.

“Although I am just 100 days into my elected term of office, it is one full year — April 25, to be exact — that I have had the privilege to serve our city as its Mayor,” said Keefe, who served as acting mayor before being elected to a full term last fall. “I have had the chance to witness our city from two distinct perspectives: one from my role as Mayor — seeing all our interactions and watching the fundamentals of city hall at work — and the other at ground level, up. I’ve had the opportunity throughout my time in Revere to speak up close and personal with residents, families, city staff, and community groups, sharing struggles and concerns on the path toward solutions.”

Keefe said he has been inspired by what he has seen in the city, and assessing all that he has seen and has happened in the past, he said Revere is on a path to greatness.

“We watched optimism and unity work hand and hand the very first month of this administration, when our City Council in January took the bold and decisive action to approve the construction of the new Revere High School at the site of the former Wonderland dog track,” said Keefe after noting that optimism and unity were the uniting themes of his address. “With our city’s collaboration, we were able to progress, together.”

Keefe said the decision to construct the school and preserve the current site for future needs of the community was the right decision, and even those who expressed a different opinion agree that the city must move forward from here and get this job done.  

“This entire project is and will continue to be a perfect example of collaboration, involving the Mayor’s office, the City Council, the School Committee, the Student Senate, and the hundreds of residents who came and expressed their ideas,” said Keefe. “We all navigated through different opinions and prioritized concerns, and ultimately made a decision that is best for our people and, most important, for our children.”

The mayor said the prospect of a new high school is just one symbol of Revere’s progress and future. He said the city has become the attractive hub of the Greater Boston area.

“A prime example of this is taking shape along our Riverfront, where a new residential complex has replaced a towering metal hanger and tow yard, where we will soon see the renovation of Gibson Park, the creation of a community boating facility, along with resiliency measures that will utilize over $3.3 million in state, local and federal funding,” said Keefe. “During the past fifteen years, we have watched a reinvestment in Revere, which has refreshed our atmosphere: Our waterfront has provided a source of new value, rich with bustling restaurants and lively residential districts. With our scenic beach, eclectic activities, events, and our new businesses, Revere is finally attracting a share of the Boston tourist economy.”

Keefe pointed to both recent and planned development in the city, including at least two new hotels that will open next year, as a boon for the city economically that will put little demand on public resources. 

“For decades, the city’s two largest commercial employers were racetracks— (Suffolk Downs and Wonderland),” said Keefe. “When those closed, our commercial tax base plummeted, and our largest employer was a supermarket. That is no longer the case; over the past decade, we have taken an aggressive approach to expand and diversify the city’s vital commercial tax base.”

Revere has become rich with new industry and opportunity, thanks to a variety of enterprises, from thriving small businesses to some of the largest companies on earth, Keefe stated.

“Today, Revere is home to two Amazon facilities, a model of the current national commercial standard, employing more than 600 people,” Keefe said. “The development of Suffolk Downs, one of the largest mixed-use projects in Massachusetts history, is well underway. This will deliver nearly six-million gross square feet of commercial, residential, and recreational space on the 52 acres located in Revere.” 

The mayor said the city’s commercial growth also includes a thriving small business community, which he called the lifeblood of a strong city.

“Over 40 prospective businesses are working in concert with our Department of Planning and Community Development, looking to open doors along our commercial corridors of Shirley Avenue, Broadway, and Squire Road,” Keefe said. “At the same time, city hall is working with existing businesses to revitalize and improve their storefronts and properties.”

Revere’s growth has allowed the municipal government to expand the services that help improve everyone’s quality of life, Keefe said, pointing to the Revere-311 constituent services hotline as a reliable connection between residents and city hall.  

Keefe also highlighted the steps taken by the Elder Affairs Department to make the senior center a spoke of activity and connection for the city’s seniors.

“Similarly, our Revere Public Library, even at 122 years young, is as vital as ever and has become a dynamic center for learning and resources for all our residents,” said Keefe. “As our population has diversified, the library has expanded its English as a Second Language class to four days per week. For our younger residents, the Library hosts book clubs, creative writing groups, and Lego clubs.”

Keefe also highlighted the offerings and programs available to residents through the recreation department and youth sports in the community.

“Our community is rapidly acquainting itself and enjoying the newest and most ambitious feature of our Recreation Department, the Haas Fitness and Wellness Center, a modern recreational facility that includes state of the art fitness equipment, group exercise classes, and other amenities to stimulate our residents through exercise of the mind and body,” Keefe said.

The city continues to invest in its public works department, not only with the newly opened public works facility, but with a full complement of employees to serve the needs of residents, Keefe said.

On public safety, the mayor pointed to the opening of the new Point of Pines fire station later this year as one example of the city’s commitment to keeping its residents safe. He also noted that staffing levels in both the police and fire departments are at their highest levels in decades.

“Throughout its history, Revere was identified as a place for working-class families to settle and thrive,” said Keefe. “Revere was home to the people who formed our city’s soul: teachers and school staff; city hall workers; hard-working employees in the hospitality industry; public safety personnel, laborers, and countless more residents who are the foundation of a strong and tight-knit community. And though we tout our current growth and have every reason to be proud of it, we realize that escalating costs impose burdens on our longtime residents and create financial obstacles for those who want to live here.” 

The mayor said Revere is not immune to the region’s escalating housing costs, with economic and demographic changes throughout the northeast propelling rising rents and home ownership becoming a challenge to the working class. 

“This endangers Revere’s character and sense of community, and so it is our obligation to deal with the unique challenges that come along with prosperity,” said Keefe. “We understand this. Accordingly, we will explore every opportunity to alleviate that financial strain and keep Revere affordable for our Seniors and attractive to those seeking to settle here.”

While Revere cannot solve Greater Boston’s housing crisis alone, Keefe said the city can do its part to ensure that families who call Revere home and contribute to its success are able to stay. 

The mayor moved onto his and the city’s commitment to education in the city, from the building of a new high school and beyond.

“The quality and success of a public school system is the single greatest measurement of a community’s status and reputation,” said Keefe. “All of the progress, all of the programs, all of the growth and development in our city become far less meaningful if we do not complement it with a distinguished educational program delivered through our public school system.”

Keefe said he is proud to lead a city that has a school system that can meet the educational needs of its diverse population. 

“Revere’s school department is staffed by educators and administrators who have cultivated remarkable success, led by the 2023 Massachusetts School Superintendent of the Year, Dr. Dianne Kelly,” he said. “Dr. Kelly, we thank you for your leadership, your vision, and the inspiration you provide to teachers and students day in and day out.  Under your leadership, Revere is producing students who are equipped to excel in higher education, in business, and in life.” 

Keefe said the city’s students shine because they are taught by a staff of teachers who are passionate about their work and set their students’ interests as their North Star.  

“Day in and day out, our teachers devote their relentless energy to assure that Revere public school students obtain an education that will prepare them for the challenges they will encounter in whatever path they choose beyond school,” said Keefe.

The mayor neared the end of his address touting the bright future for the city that its residents deserve.

“We sense greatness, a future of abundance and accord among all our people, and I am motivated to ensure that we will not settle for less,” said Keefe. “We have the workers, the people, the industry, and the relationships that can overcome any obstacle. We have the resources, the resolve, and the ability to elevate Revere to a city that will not settle to just keep pace, but will, instead, lead the way as one of the great communities not just of Massachusetts, but of the entire country.”

Keefe said he is optimistic and believes in the city and its future. 

“I want to share that optimism with everyone, no matter where you stand,” said Keefe. “If you are a resident of Revere, then I want to enlist you in our mission.  That is the unity I envision, the shared optimism, and we will build unstoppable momentum.

“We can make history, beginning right now, right here, tonight. Join me, and let’s launch Revere into the future.”

Keefe was introduced and brought up onto the state by former state Representative and Speaker of the House DeLeo, who spoke of Revere’s rich history and his hopes for its future.

“Revere is a city with three stops on the Blue Line, but it is the first stop in the American Dream for immigrant families,” said DeLeo. “People want to live here and raise their families here because diversity is viewed as a strength now more than ever … the city’s future is brighter than it has ever been.”

You can read the full text of Mayor Keefe’s State of the City on Page 6.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.