We have hit the ground running in this new year and are well underway on working on our priorities for 2013.
Here are some of the top priorities the administration has laid out for this year.
I-4, C-2: The property at 65 Rogers St. needs to remain the focus of effort to get it moving. We will work with the City Council to satisfy their concerns, and will keep at this until there is a successful resolution to this decades-old Gloucester perplexity – “what to do with I-4, C-2?”
Wind turbine tracking: We are in the process of pulling together the mechanism by which we will track the performance of the wind turbines and their financial return to the city. I hope to get a report every month, accompanied by a check from NationalGrid made out to the city of Gloucester, and will in turn share the results with citizens.
School athletic / user fee reduction: We will be advancing a proposal to reduce the family cap for athletic / user fees from $2,000 to $1,000 and further to reduce the fees by half for next school year. We want children to participate in sports (as the old saying goes, “sports not courts”), and other after school activities and not have financial barriers prevent them from doing so.
The Gloucester Fisherman’s Athletic Association along with the Gloucester Education Foundation have stepped forward these past years to alleviate the burden on families. Gloucester is now in the position where the city can also bring fees down to more reasonable levels.
Boulevard seawall: We have the engineering designs in hand along with the permits to do the badly needed reconstruction of the Boulevard seawalls on both sides of the Cut Bridge. Seeking funding will be the focus of our efforts with the Commonwealth’s Seaport Advisory Council in the coming year.
Newell Stadium: A project that has been years in the making will come to fruition in 2013. Construction is underway, and the project is a remarkable city, state, corporate and citizen partnership. The $100,000 donation from Market Basket we received last week puts the funding over the finish line, and we look forward to a grand opening in the fall.
Fort infrastructure / Beauport Hotel: The administration is structuring a public/private partnership financing plan for paying for the necessary infrastructure in the Commercial Street / Fort Square area that will support the existing businesses, residences as well as new growth. We are also working diligently to support the City Council in their efforts to vet the Special Permit for the proposed Beauport Hotel.
Maritime economy: We continue to aggressively pursue jobs and investment in the marine science and technology economic sector. Much of the work we are doing now can be described as “setting the table” so that Gloucester can be a recognized player in this world of economic opportunity. Keep an eye out for upcoming information about Gloucester’s second annual Maritime Summit which will be held on February 7th.
Fuller school redevelopment: The question about Fuller School is an opportunity to reset our vision for the downtown area. Almost anything that occurs on the Fuller property will have a domino effect. A priority for 2013 will be to take a more comprehensive view, and fully understand implications of a Fuller School redevelopment on the downtown area.
The list of priorities for 2013 is ambitious and through it all, we can’t lose site of the nuts and bolts of providing good governance, and services to the citizens of Gloucester. A belated Happy New Year to you!.
Carolyn Kirk is mayor of the city of Gloucester.