My name is John Powers; and it has been my honor to have represented the citizens of Ward 5 on the Revere City Council through the end of 2021. Today I am proud to announce my candidacy for re-election in the Special Election for the now-open Ward 5 Council seat. I am grateful beyond words for the trust that the citizens of Ward 5 has placed in me; and I humbly ask for your support again, so that I may continue to serve you and your families and we may together continue the progress we have begun in the great city of Revere.
For those of you who may not know me, please allow me to tell you a bit about myself, about some of the achievements of which I am post proud, and about some of what I still hope to accomplish in the future. I am a lifelong Revere resident, a homeowner and a taxpayer. Among my many City Council roles, I have been elected by my colleagues to three terms as City Council President. I have also been appointed to four terms as Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for reviewing and approving the annual city budget, and as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, which provides oversight of the Police and Fire Departments.
I especially pride myself for serving as a full-time City Councilor—that is my only job. I truly enjoy spending every day working on important city issues and providing constituent services. If you see fit to re-elect me in this Special Election, I pledge to remain accessible to all Revere citizens, easily reachable, and unfailingly responsive to anyone who needs my assistance, who has a question or concern, or who just wants his or her voice heard. Among my City Council accomplishments in the recent past:
A New Point of Pines Fire Station: This is an issue on which I had long been a vocal and persistent advocate. By 2019, we had secured a commitment from the Mayor and City Council to build a new fire station on the Lynnway to better serve the Point of Pines, Riverside, Oak Island and Lower Revere Street neighborhoods as well as the city as a whole. Since then, we have approved bond funding for a new state-of-the-art facility, which is now in final design; demolition of the long-vacant Alden Mills Fire Station has been completed; and once we receive our final state permits, construction will begin later this year.
A New Vision for the Revere RiverFront District: We successfully fought two proposed residential projects for the vacant Riverside Boat Works property on Thayer Avenue that were opposed by the Riverside community; and we then passed new zoning that precluded of any dense multi-family redevelopment of that property. Since, then, we have completed a community-based Master Plan for the River Front District as a whole that envisions the conversion of the Riverside Boat Works property to a community rowing/educational center, that would be an integral new element of an expanded and more resilient Gibson Park; a new residential redevelopment along an attractive and accessible waterfront; and a reconfigured transportation network that will directly link the district to Revere as a whole—eliminating the current need to use Mills Avenue to get to and from Gibson Park.
Improved Neighborhood Infrastructure: With the full support of the Mayor and his DPW staff, we have continued to repave streets and replace sidewalks throughout Ward 5; and less visibly but at least equally importantly, we have continued to upgrade our water, sewer, drainage and pumping facilities throughout the district. At long last, with my proactive support, we have fully excavated and restored the Eastern County Ditch, which is vital to flood control in Ward 5 and has already resulted in virtually eliminating area flooding in major storm events.
Upgraded Neighborhood Playgrounds: With the full support of the Mayor and his Community Development staff, we have continued to improve our recreational facilities in Ward 5 for both our younger and our older residents, with new playgrounds at Gibson and DeStoop Parks and the Paul Revere School, and with the ongoing renovation of Ambrose Park. We are also working with DCR on a senior-oriented renovation of Sullivan Park on Revere Beach Boulevard, which will be linked to the Bay Road neighborhood via the new pedestrian bridge at Sachem Street.
New Public Schools: Following-up on our support for construction of the five new public schools including the Paul Revere Elementary School and the Rumney Marsh Middle School, both of which serve children in Ward 5, we are working with the Mayor and the School Superintendent on planning for a new Revere High School at Wonderland. This badly needed facility has received essential initial approval from the Massachusetts School Building Authority, which will underwrite a major portion of its cost; and we are currently in the final stages of feasibility planning. Municipal bonding will be supported by the property tax proceeds from new development at Suffolk Downs and elsewhere in Revere.
Transportation Projects: We have continued to work in concert with the Mayor and his Community Development staff and with DOT, DCR and MBTA to improve transportation facilities and services on North Shore Road, Revere Beach Boulevard and American Legion Highway in Ward 5 to address the persistent problem of regional commuting through Revere to/from Boston. This multi-jurisdictional process is always slower than we all want it to be; but recently there have been encouraging progress on three important regional rail initiatives for which I have been a primary advocate: Congresswoman Katherine Clark has recently approved $4M for planning of a new regional rail station at Wonderland, linked to the Blue Line; the current Transportation Bond Bill includes $25M for the construction of such a regional rail station, for which I testified along with Governor Baker and Mayor Arrigo; and DOT has recently designated the regional rail line through Revere as the Environmental Justice Corridor, with a priority for its electrification to allow for “transit frequency and transit fares” on our regional rail. In addition, of particular interest to Ward 5, I was instrumental in supporting the commencement of design work on the proposed new round-about for the RiverFront District, in successfully opposing DCR traffic meters on the residential side of Revere Beach Boulevard, and in renovating the newly landscaped traffic island at Butler Circle.
Job Development Initiatives: We worked to create new Revere job opportunities with the rezoning and reactivation of the former NECCO property in Ward 5 by Amazon, the proposed new Amazon facility to replace the vacant Showcase Cinema in Ward 6, the ongoing redevelopment of the Revere portion of Suffolk Downs in Wards 1 and 2, and the proposed industrial redevelopment of the former Global Petroleum oil tank farm Lee Burbank Highway. These commercial redevelopment initiatives will eventually increase the number of job opportunities in and for Revere by three-to-four fold.
These are just a few of the many issues and opportunities for which I have fought on behalf of the residents of Ward 5; and they will continue to require informed attention and leadership in the years to come. I believe that my past performance as your Ward 5 City Councillor reflects the experience and expertise, the vision and understanding, and the dedication and leadership that I will continue to bring to this exceptionally broad range of civic and community responsibilities and that make me ideally positioned to continue to serve you and the city.
We can all agree that Revere is at an exciting time in its history; and the direction that we take and the choices that we make in the coming years will determine whether we reach our economic, commercial and civic potential as a community. It is on that basis that I again humbly ask you, the Revere residents of Ward 5, for your vote in the Ward 5 Special Election on Tuesday, July 19th.