METHUEN — In his State of the City address on Feb. 8, Mayor William Manzi touched on some of the things that were implemented in his first year in office, such as the creation of six mayoral commissions to study and suggest ways to revitalize property around the community like the East End fire station and the Bea’s parcel.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to report the state of our city is robust,” Manzi said. “With your help and support this year, I am confident that we can make it even better in the years to come.”
City Councilor Deborah Quinn believes the mayor is on the right track.
“The mayor loves this city. Let’s face it; he’s never going to hurt this city,” Quinn said after the speech. “I think he has a vision that’s bigger than we can even fathom at this point.”
Quinn was appointed as the chair on the commission to develop the Bea’s property after the city secured $250,000 in state funds to upgrade the property on the Merrimack River.
“We’ve had several meetings with the public and we will continue to have more,” Quinn said of the progress of the commission. “I’m almost certain we will have a boat ramp for access to the river.”, THE BROADCASTER Body:
“In 1918, a young pitcher named Babe Ruth led the Boston Red Sox to the World Series Championship,” Manzi said. “That same year, Methuen’s East End fire station was opened. Now, because the structure is undersized and outdated, we are looking for ways to build a new station.”
Fire Chief Cliff Gallant couldn’t agree more.
“There’s a large number of runs (for the fire trucks) down the east end,” Gallant said. “Geographically it’s changed a lot. When they built that station in 1918, the same year as Babe Ruth, the building was congested around that area and farther down in the Valley towards the Haverhill line was nothing but farms. But it’s changed a lot. We need to move the station, still keep it in the east end but move it closer to the valley and more towards the Haverhill line.”
Along with the commissions, Director of Economic and Community Development Karen Sawyer Faust hosted informational forums with residents to gain their input on the city’s future.
“Through the visioning sessions, ideas were gathered and citizen input really drove the process,” Manzi said. “The process is about consensus building and creating a communitywide vision. I personally look forward to embarking on a plan that will lead Methuen boldly into the future.”
Faust said the process has been successful because of the input from the public.
“We have so many assets here … from companies that are here and continue to grow, families here that continue to stay and their families can afford to stay. All those people become stakeholders in making these decisions and they’re showing up in many different ways,” Faust said. “They’re showing up at master plan meetings; they’re serving on committees. Everybody has these great ideas and I think they’re just happy to have a forum for them. If the city staff is successful, it’s from hearing them and making the strides towards recognizing what the needs are. This is real-life stuff. It may not be sexy or flashy, but it’s real-life incremental differences.”
Manzi said if he had to characterize 2007 in one sentence, it would be the year of results.
“So much of what we have started in 2006 will come to fruition this year,” Manzi said. “I look forward to working with citizens and business people alike on the critical initiatives I have outlined here today.”
Quinn is pleased overall with the progress the city has made.
“I may not agree with everything, but I’m going to support anything positive,” Quinn said. “It’s growth in a smart way, and that’s what we’re looking for, smart growth.”
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