Peabody - In his inaugural address, Mayor Ted Bettencourt announced the city is eligible to receive nearly $10 million in state and federal funds to rebuild the entire Central Street corridor.
Beginning at its Walnut Street intersection and continuing through Wilson Square, the project includes new road surfacing, sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic signals and modern landscape and design amenities. The aim is to improve traffic flow, accessibility and safety.
Bettencourt, who ran unopposed, announced the project during his state of the city address after being sworn in for a fourth term Monday in a ceremony at City Hall.
"When I was first sworn in as mayor in 2012, I shared a vision for Peabody, which included a growing economy, great schools, safe neighborhoods, and a good, affordable quality of life for our fellow residents," Bettencourt said. "Working together with so many of you here tonight during the past six years, I am proud to report that we have made remarkable progress towards this vision of a better Peabody." He recounted work that has been done to revitalize the downtown over the past six years, which has totaled to almost a $6 million investment in state and local funds. Beginning in 2013 and concluding last year, the city leveraged two state Massworks grants to redesign Main Street and Peabody Square, to create additional parking, improve pedestrian safety, and make the entire area more attractive to business and residential development.
"Although some in our community cautioned against any attempt to revitalize downtown Peabody, others demonstrated the courage and vision to challenge conventional wisdom," Bettencourt said. "Although much work lies ahead, downtown Peabody stands on the cusp of a historic revitalization." Bettencourt recognized three outgoing members of the City Council with a plaque; State Representative Tom Walsh, Councilor-at-Large Mike Garabedian and Ward 6 Councilor Barry Sinewitz.
The two City Councilor at-large seats are now filled by Ryan Melville, 32, and Tom Rossignoll, 47, who chose not to seek another term on the school board to instead run for the council seat. Mark O’Neill defeated Michael Geomelos — both first-time candidates — in Ward 6 to succeed longtime Councilor Sinewitz.
Ward 4 City Councilor Edward Charest, was voted City Council President for 2018. Charest, 54, defeated challenger Bukia “Kia” Chalvire and was sworn in for another two-year term on the City Council. "Tonight I pledge, as the new City Council President, to you to lead the council with the best of my abilities to ensure this city remains one of the best in the North Shore," Charest said. "I pledge to continue to keep the overall quality of life of residents as the top priority of this council. I pledge to have your best interest in the forefront of my mind."
Incumbents Tom Gould, 62, Anne Manning-Martin, 51, and Dave Gravel, 61, all won new terms.
Ward 1 Councilor Jon Turco, Ward 2 Councilor Peter McGinn and Ward 3 Councilor Jim Moutsoulas did not face any challengers this year and were each sworn in for new terms Monday. In Ward 5, incumbent Joel Saslaw, 54, serves a third term on the council, defeating challenger James Jeffery. On the School Committee, longtime member Beverley Griffin Dunne, 59, newcomer Andrew Arnotis, 23, and incumbent Jarrod Hochman, 47, were sworn in. School Committee member John Olimpio was nominated as vice chairperson and Arnotis was nominated as secretary.
Municipal lighting commissioners William Alyward and Thomas D'Amato were sworn in along with Trustees of the Peabody Institute Library Sandra Fecteau, Dianne Gagnon Caputo, Frances Gallugi, Kate O'Brien and Thomas Pappas.
Bettencourt announced another plan for 2018 to embark upon the Route 1 Water Quality and Drainage Improvement Project, which will replace outdated 6-inch water mains with new 12-inch water mains."This project will improve drainage throughout the area and help alleviate the low water pressure issues that have long plagued several Peabody neighborhoods located near the Route One corridor," he said. Bettencourt also mentioned recent improvements and upcoming projects for education, public safety, quality of life and affordability. New undertakings include the George Peabody Statue slated for 10 Lowell Street, providing students with Chromebooks, the upcoming Peabody Dog Park on Perkins Street and new James Rice Memorial fields for school athletics. He added that Peabody was recently named among the Top 30 Safest Cities in America by SafeHome, an organization that analyzes FBI crime statistics for America’s cities and towns.
"In six short years we have revitalized key sectors of our local economy, increased our investment in education and public safety, and helped make Peabody an even more desirable place to live, work and raise a family," Bettencourt said. "And we have done it all without sacrificing the affordability for which Peabody has long been recognized and admired." by Mary Markos salemnews.com