October 19 2018,  Revere

OP-ED: It’s a busy time in a bustling city

OP-ED: It’s a busy time in a bustling city

 By Mayor Brian Arrigo

 

  Summer’s end usually means that schedules fill up, daily tasks increase, and the pace of just about everything becomes a bit more hectic. In other words, there’s lots going on.

Columbus Day usually marks the date that we Revere traditionalists declare summer over. And, here in our city, there’s lots going on.

Two new arrivals in Revere will be most noticeable.

After years of public demand, Revere residents have a choice when it comes to cable television subscription: RCN is now available in certain sections of Revere and over the coming months will be fully available citywide. While Comcast has been a reliable provider of cable TV services over the years, RCN’s arrival brings competition to the market, and competition always benefits consumers. A simple example the competition benefit: local access stations through the RCN network will be viewable in high definition. Soon, Comcast will provide a single local access station in HD, making Revere the first community in the state where Comcast has contractually agreed to provide a local access HD station.

Revere’s second big arrival will be the new trash barrels. Heavy-duty, covered trash carts will be delivered to every residential property in the City in the upcoming weeks. The trash carts are a primary element in the City’s effort to combat rodent infestation.

Rodent control is just one objective of the City’s new trash removal program. Indeed, the carts post a formidable barrier to the rats, who see Trash Day as a free banquet. But there are other benefits to a standard trash container policy. The trash carts program sets a uniformity that will expedite trash collection. Second, it assures that all trash is secured in a proper container. Third, it encourages people to amend their usual habits and reduce waste, reuse where possible, and recycle. And it discourages placement of trash from outside the City for free Revere curbside collection.

Trash disposal has become one of the most expensive and uncontrollable issues facing municipal governments across the country. For far too long, Revere has lagged behind the times in municipal trash collection. About 15 years ago the Revere City Council pondered a “barrels only” requirement as a step toward rodent control but settled on trash collection revisions that have proven inadequate to resist rodent infestation. Revere’s current approach to trash collection is outdated, costly and environmentally unsound.

Since Revere pays a tonnage fee for trash disposal, taxpayers can benefit when we all reduce the amount of trash we place for collection. Even with the new barrel program, Revere will continue to be one of the more generous communities in Massachusetts when it comes to trash collection; many municipalities charge an annual fee for barrels, or utilize a “Pay as you Throw” method, or don’t provide curbside collection at all.

With over 16,000 residences in the city, it is inevitable that the new program might pose a level of inconvenience to some. Admittedly the new barrel program will require people to break old habits and develop new ones. Residents went through this transition years ago when the City adopted curbside recycling, but we all quickly adapted our trash disposal routines.

Some of the less noticeable but vital changes going on in our city include the addition of nearly $2 million in desperately needed equipment upgrades for the Department of Public Works and Water Department. We’ve also added manpower to enhance their capacity to deal with the countless issues that fall within their control, from pothole repair to fixing broken water mains to maintaining our parks to street lighting to sanitation – and soon, snow removal.

We’ve boosted the ranks of our public safety force by adding 10 new police officers and seven new firefighters since January, and the plans for a new Point of Pines fire station are advancing.

Both commercial and residential is booming in our city, as more and more people and businesses recognize the benefit and the value of Revere’s inimitable location. Our oceanfront will soon be the site of three new hotels, and Waterfront Square along Ocean Avenue – almost 15 years in the making – is nearing completion.

Meanwhile, the transformative development planned for the Suffolk Downs site is progressing. Next month, the City Council will consider the Planned Unit Development Master Plan, clearing the way for an unprecedented venture that will turn land long used as horse stables into a modern mixed-use neighborhood replete with shops, restaurants, and recreational open space.

I could go on. Sizable tracts of vacant and underused land such as the Wonderland site has been designated an “opportunity zone” and is loaded with potential for vibrant and inspired economic development. New property owners are remodeling homes and making our neighborhoods attractive. Our community is bustling with people who see Revere as a special place to live. It is. Yes, there’s lots going on in Revere, and it’s a great time for all of us to be part of it.

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