Guest Op-Ed: The Need for a Redevelopment Authority

October 11, 2013
By

At the most recent Rules and Ordinances meeting, my administration made a presentation on the importance of establishing a Redevelopment Authority for the City.  On Monday night, the Council joined me in supporting a Redevelopment Authority and I urge the Aldermen to join us in supporting this important initiative.

A Redevelopment Authority, which is a public administrative unit given responsibility for the renovation of urban areas, would be an important tool for the City of Everett to bring life back to our industrial areas through proper planning.

Over the past few meetings, it became evident that misinformation about redevelopment authorities was being given to residents and elected officials in order to scare them into voting against the redevelopment authority.  Tactics like these are a sad response to what is a terrific opportunity for our neighborhoods.  I urge our residents and elected officials to educate themselves on what a redevelopment can and cannot do prior to making their determination on the need.

On a Saturday in June, over 6,000 residents went to the polls to vote in the casino election.  Over 86 percent of those people voted in favor of the casino and in favor of the host agreement.  In that host agreement was the pledge to pursue a Redevelopment Authority in order to aid the Wynn Resort Development.  Simply put, in order to make Wynn Everett a reality and honor our commitments in the Host Agreement and to the voters, the City must establish a Redevelopment Authority.

I know that a Redevelopment Authority will benefit the long-term vision for the City, and will help us achieve the goals that the City set in the Lower Broadway Master Plan.  The most important aspect is that this will be a collective and collaborative process.  The City Council, the administration, and the public will work together to build the renewal plan and to implement that plan.  We will join forces to rebuild a neighborhood.  We will fight to bring value to our homes while increasing the worthiness of their surroundings.  Together we will begin a twenty year plan together and just begin to the see the progress of our planning.

This plan will NOT replace the real estate market.  This plan will NOT take properties for pennies on the dollar.  This plan will NOT harm our neighbors.  This plan will help Wynn Everett become a reality.  This plan will implement the planning we have been working on for six years.  This plan will be a collaboration of us all for a better Everett and empower the City to take control over its collective destiny through effective planning and teamwork.

On Monday night, a City Councilor criticized our presentation of the Redevelopment Authority for changing since we first began to discuss it.  She’s right, it has changed.   It has changed to respond to the questions and needs of our elected officials and residents.  It has changed to address what the people of Everett needed to know about the process.  I picture that the actual Urban Renewal plan will proceed in the same manner.  An evolving document, that will respond to the wants and needs of our elected officials and residents.

The future of our City lies with the development of the community to its highest and best use – through sustainable developments that generate revenue and value for the City of Everett, not through empty lots, scrap yards and blighted properties. A redevelopment authority can help us realize these new, higher uses and lead Everett into the future.

I urge the Board of Aldermen to join me, the City Council and the people of Everett in supporting the Redevelopment Authority.