Local Government and Politics, News

Moving forward is main focus for Peabody mayor

Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. addresses the crowd after being sworn in as mayor of Peabody for his fourth term. (Owen O'Rourke)

PEABODY — Mayor Edward A. Bettencourt Jr. highlighted the accomplishments of his first six years in office at Monday night’s inaugural celebration, and unveiled new plans for the continued revitalization of the city.

The mayor was sworn in for his fourth term after running unopposed in November.

The list of successes included the continued clean-up of Crystal Lake in West Peabody, the final phase of the new Higgins Middle School project, and the recent spate of new development in and around Peabody Square.

Chief among the projects the mayor said he will work on in 2018 is a Central Street corridor project. Bettencourt said the project to rebuild the corridor from Walnut Street to Wilson Square is eligible to receive nearly $10 million in state and federal funds.

“This project includes new road surface and sidewalks, crosswalks and traffic signals, and modern landscape and design amenities,” Bettencourt said. “It will improve traffic flow, accessibility, and the safety and quality of life of tens of thousands of Peabody residents.”

Plans to expand the Peter A. Torigian Senior Center to provide additional classroom space for adult learners will also be considered this year, he said.

“The senior center is a hub for thousands of older residents and has long been the envy of the entire North Shore region,” said Bettencourt. “From transportation, to meals, to social services, to our Adult Day Health Center, the senior center and its dedicated staff and volunteers are a big part of what makes Peabody so special.”

Also on tap for 2018 are several initiatives to bring more of an arts scene to the city through the opening of a black box theater on Foster Street, and a partnership with the Peabody Cultural Collaborative to expand the performing arts center at city hall.

Bettencourt said he will continue to build on the successes of his first three terms as he looks to continue to move the city forward.

“In six short years, we have revitalized key sectors of our local economy, increased our investment in education and public safety, and helped make Peabody an even more desirable place to live, work, and raise a family,” he said. “And we have done it all without sacrificing the affordability for which Peabody has long been recognized and admired.”

During the evening’s event, the council also selected Ward 4 Councilor Ed Charest as the new council president for the coming year.

“It’s a great time to live in Peabody,” Charest said. “Peabody pride is alive and well, and it should be.”

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