March 20, 2017
Pictured is Stephen Viviano.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
NAHANT — Stephen Viviano, a Revere firefighter, has his eye on a seat at the Board of Selectmen’s table.
“I’m definitely aggressive,” he said. “I’m 31 and the best thing I’ve got going for me is being motivated. I have seven rental properties; 14 units, and a full time job. Diving in and getting things done is something I’d be good at. The community as a whole — it’s a beautiful place. But there’s a lot that can be done.”
Viviano moved to Nahant at age 5 and attended the Johnson Elementary School. He has served as a firefighter for six years and has maintained and constructed rental properties in Nahant and Danvers. He lived in Danvers while working on his multi-family units but moved back to Nahant about five years ago.
Viviano is running against incumbent Richard Lombard, who holds the record for the longest-serving selectman in town with 38 years under his belt.
Now that the Causeway has been enhanced, Lombard said his final mission is to change the look of the entrance to town. He doesn’t want to step down from his post until he’s finished the job, he said.
The Short Beach Master Plan includes burying above ground electrical wires in Little Nahant from Seaside Pizza on Nahant Road to the Nahant Police Station and eliminating poles on the ocean side. Overgrown weeds behind the park will be cleaned out. A Memorial Pond will be uncovered. The road leading into town will be lined with trees and benches. Gas lamps will replace existing light poles.
When Viviano took out papers, he said he was unaware that Lombard would be running for another term. But that doesn’t mean he’s still not up for the challenge.
“I hesitated when turning the papers in,” he said. “I know Richie Lombard has been a selectman forever. He was always a nice, friendly guy. I thought his last time running would have been his last time. I don’t want to pose as the young kid going to run against an old veteran. I wanted to do the town a good service. There are changes that are long overdue and I really do love the town; I care about it a lot.”
While Viviano said he respects Lombard’s work on the board, he believes he has as good of a chance to be elected as anyone else running for the first time.
“I want to get involved,” Viviano said. “I think there’s a lot of Nahant that can be improved and a lot that can be preserved. I’ve invested a lot of money in the business district. I’d like to get some business back and revitalize the so-called downtown area. There’s a lot that Nahant can do better.”
If elected, Viviano said he would make improving town parks and playgrounds and revitalizing small businesses downtown his priority.
He’d like to attract businesses to the downtown area that would be able to thrive in a town with a population of about 3,000 people, but would also like to see any prospective businesses benefit Nahant residents.
“One big thing Nahant cares about is they don’t want to let outsiders in,” Viviano said. “I agree that the town is too small to have general traffic coming in. I wouldn’t want something that would bring in unwanted guests. The roadways and infrastructure, I don’t think could handle it. My primary focus would bring in business that the community can utilize, appreciate and keep in business.”
Viviano said Ocean House Surf Shop, which has a location in Swampscott, is interested in one of his commercial properties. He sees value in bringing in the business because they offer activities for children and adults that fit with the lifestyle offered by the coastal town.
He’s hoping to bring back a dry cleaner at another property, he said.
Owning property in town has taught him about building on a flood plane, he said. His interest in the town’s flooding problems grew from there. He hopes to help the town with preventative maintenance. Viviano believes the town’s parks and playgrounds should be improved for the youth population, which he believes is shrinking. He questions whether more parents are opting to send their children out of town to private school because the population is wealthier than it was when he was a child, or whether residents are unhappy with the Johnson School.
Finally, he hopes to bring Fourth of July festivities back to Short Beach, rather than Bailey’s Point.
“It’s based on Fire Marshal’s law that the fireworks have to be 500 feet from any house but that could easily be accomplished with a barge,” he said. “Where they are, people get stuck standing on Willow Road or Tudor Beach. Neighbors probably don’t appreciate everyone cutting through their yards. I haven’t gone to the fireworks in three or four years because of it. It’s just too congested. When I was younger, (watching) the fireworks at Short Beach was a town thing.”
Viviano said he’s also interested in filling an open position on the Planning Board.
Town Clerk Peggy Barile said two members are stepping down and two are up for reelection. Only one member, Mirjana R. Maksimovic, has chosen to run for reelection.
The last day to register to vote is Friday, April 7. Residents can visit Barile at Town Hall from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.