Good afternoon. I love hearing the stories from parents whose children have told them, when passing City Hall, “that’s where mayor McGlynn lives” and if you asked Sheila, she would probably tell you that it is true.
On January 9, 1961, I met President John F. Kennedy with my father. It was a day filled with excitement and the adrenaline was flowing. We arrived home about 10 pm, and my father said it was time for bed and I said; “Dad, I want to be mayor of Medford”. My Dad said; “go to bed, we will talk about it in the morning”. And we did talk, everyday until January 4, 1988, when I was sworn as your Mayor.
It was a time when the economic conditions in the Commonwealth challenged the well being of our city. People questioned if their elected officials could maintain the delivery of public services. I believe it is evident that together we established a responsive government during times of continued economic stress.
I have never been paralyzed by conflicting views, nor have I avoided the responsibility of making hard choices. The financial stability of this community is paramount to its future success.
My experience has been earned because of the commitment and support you have shown toward my tenure in public office. For this, Sheila and I are truly grateful. Your friendship and guidance shall never be forgotten.
The road has been a very enjoyable one, steeped in hard work, tough decisions, and on occasion, a bit of controversy. But, the results have always been rewarding. We have forged partnerships with employees, volunteers, non profits, elected officials, the business community and the residents of our great city!
As we look back on what we have accomplished, it seems so simple, yet, every program, every bit of construction, or reconstruction, was met with some degree of opposition. However, we continued to forge ahead, as a team, for the public good. Three examples of this team effort include: Rivers Edge, Station Landing and the old marsh site.
The Rivers Edge development in Wellington, was a brownfield site, in dire need of rehabilitation. The area had been the site where trash would be placed on a barge on the Malden River, floated to Boston Harbor, torched, and dumped into the water. It was a place where the orange-blue-red water, full of toxins flowed. It was a site where businesses freely dumped their waste into the ground and/or river. Until the early 1970’s, there was no Environmental Protection Agency.
The stench when the earth was moved would have made you nauseous. Working together we remediated the site into a parcel that now offers luxury housing with an affordable component, created hundreds of construction and permanent jobs. Companies that moved in include: the Marriott Corporation, Progenika from Spain, and Labthink from China. It quadrupled the amount of our tax dollars.
A boathouse was built where both college and high school teams host regattas and spectators line the river to cheer on their favorite teams. Medford High’s crew teams have excelled in many competitions.
Station Landing is a site where the back side of this property had been the city’s dump. We worked with National Development to remediate the waste and create a transit-oriented development. The revenues from the building permits and linkage payments helped offset lost revenues during the recession. We created jobs, housing opportunities and increased tax revenues dramatically. Today, Station Landing is our number one employer in the City of Medford.
The old marsh site, adjacent to Hormel Stadium was also a brownfield. We worked with the Building the Future Committee, the Racial Balance Committee, the Reuse Committee and many more to look at the possibility of a new configuration for schools on the site. It was controversial and it had many moving parts. After 150 public meetings and hearings, we reached a consensus to build.
We worked with the state to remediate the area, secured our approval of 90% reimbursement for the construction costs, and purchased the 47.9 acres from the state for $1.00. We secured a $1 million federal grant to build Mystic Riverbend Park including a canoe launch, seating areas, pathways and plantings.
We added outdoor street hockey rink, new soccer fields, little league fields, community gardens space, two new awesome schools, a wind turbine, stadium seating, a track and turf field.
We took over the management of the LoConte Rink and resurfaced the stadium’s parking lot. When we finished building all of the new schools, and selling the old ones, we actually made money. Together we remediated and recycled all three sites. They now offer us economic, environmental, recreational, and educational opportunities.
In recent years, articles in The Boston Globe, Boston Magazine and Redfin real estate’s website have shown Medford to be among: “best places to live, starting out; Medford, a mecca for young urban buyers, offering open space, a happening restaurant scene, plus two new waterfront developments within walking distance to the T”.
Redfin said of Medford: “a highly desirable neighborhood…with an easy commute to Boston. It has a very suburban atmosphere, with great parks.”
The third phase of the Rivers Edge development includes a mixed-use structure with apartments, commercial and restaurant space as well as an affordable housing component to accommodate the new millenials.
Five Cabot Road is a project that will complete the final build out of the Wellington business center, a residential development with connections to the Malden River, a canoe launch and easy access to the Wellington Orange Line, and affordable units.
The city is working with Black Horse Development on the construction of a transit-oriented mixed use housing development adjacent to the proposed Green Line station at Ball Square.
A (152) room ac Marriott Hotel completes the final phase of the Station Landing build out, the first transit-oriented development in the Commonwealth. The AC hotel in Medford is the first to be built on the East Coast.
Criterion Development has completed a (163) unit luxury apartment dwelling. The Lumiere has begun transformation of the Riverside industrial area into a transit-oriented mixed use area.
The Meadow Glen Mall has been permitted for the renovation of 60,000 square feet. Marshalls and Kohl’s will continue their leases, and they are welcoming new tenants, including Wegmans. Discussions have begun with the city for higher and better use of Shaw’s.
Tufts University has undertaken considerable development, an addition to Anderson Hall, an energy plant and a multi-million dollar renovation of 574 Boston Avenue for classroom, lab space, and a restaurant.
In the last two weeks, Medford Square has witnessed two new restaurants open; “Gusto Italia” and “The Chicken and Rice Guys,” and a former law office is currently being renovated into medical office space.
Other restaurant openings this past week include: “Tasty on the Hill, “Panera”, “Noodles and Company” and next week, “Smashburger.”
Permitting and linkage fees collected over the last 24 months total over $6 million and over the next 24 months have the potential of an additional $6 million.
Our public safety sector remains strong. March 9, 2014, six new police officers were appointed, and six officers in 2015. Over the past 18 months, (9) new cruisers and (5) new Harley Davidson motorcycles have been purchased.
We are in the process of hiring (8) new firefighters. We have purchased (2) new pierce fire pumpers, turnout gear, boots and completed the $2.3 million renovation to the fire stations.
To help us in the battle against substance use disorder, we created and funded a new position. The director will work on prevention, intervention and support with individuals, families, schools and the community at large.
In 2014 and 2015, we completed handicapped accessibility improvements to Barry, Hickey and Morrison Parks. At Columbus Park, we rebuilt the MHS girls softball field with all of the amenities. McNally and Magoun Parks received major upgrades as well. All parks totaled $2.2 million in state, federal and municipal funds.
The Krystle Campbell peace garden will be completed in June of 2016, at a total cost of $1,268,000 paid for by donations, grants, goodwill and compassion.
We negotiated an agreement with Tufts to create a neighborhood improvement fund in the amount of $525,000 and a yearly payment in lieu of taxes on a future building, above the new “T” station at College and Boston Avenues.
Medford High School and the Medford Vocational Technical High School were awarded a ten year, re-accreditation. They were also designated as a Level One school under the Department of Secondary Education accountability system, the highest rating attainable. We worked together to produce a $3.3 million technology upgrade, renovated the Olympic-sized pool, and worked with the state, who paid 59% of the $12 million costs, to build and renovate seventeen science labs at Medford High School.
Our class sizes are excellent, our athletes have some of the best facilities in the region, we offer extensive after school programs, all while maintaining a comprehensive curriculum, which includes the arts, music and advance placement programs.
This year, we opened our new Department of Public Works building, replacing a 1930’s WPA project, which now offers a safe working environment and a better opportunity for the DPW to do its job.
We have held golf tournaments, steak dinners, built public-private partnerships, and accepted donations to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to build the finest veteran monuments in the Commonwealth to honor the bravery and sacrifices of our veterans.
We have bonded for nearly $30 million and our rating is still strong and our indebtedness is still low.
To answer the question, what is the state of our city? It is excellent!
At the start of the recession, Richard Lee and I made a commitment to raise our reserves in order to fight the ills of recessionary times. I am excited to announce that our reserves continue to grow and as of June 30th:
- Sale of Real Estate account – $400,000
- Water & Sewer retaining earnings – $7.7 million
- Linkage funds – $1.827 million
- And free cash – $9.873 million
- Our negotiated agreement with the casino –
$1 million yearly. This represents over $20 million in reserves. In addition, the Community Preservation Act could provide up to $6 million over five years, and we did it together during tight fiscal times.
I have often stated that there will be no retreat from excellence, no acceptance of mediocrity, and no compromise of the public good. Now is the time to move the equivalent dollar amount of 5% of our operating budget from our reserves into the stabilization account. $7 1/2 million and we will become a stronger community fiscally, yet still have significant reserves with a strong forecast for our future growth.
I have always said that the two things that I have enjoyed most while serving as mayor are traveling to the schools to speak to students about their ideas for the city’s future. Topics have ranged from the design of parks to discussing government itself.
The other is having the opportunity to worship in every church or temple in this community. Medford’s clergy are a tight knit group. They minister and worship with one another. That is healthy because it allows everyone the congregant and parishioner the opportunity to worship with members of other churches, to better understand one another. In our community, diversity grows everyday, when people from different countries and different faiths come together and this only makes us stronger.
I love this job as much today as I did the day I was first sworn in. I loved all the veteran ceremonies, parades, community days, carnivals, senior picnics, the Boston Pops, the Mount Rushmore flag, the Black Hawk helicopter, the 105 millimeter Howitizers, and even the fireworks. But not as much as I love all of you. It has been a blast! Thank you all very much!