REVERE — The man behind making sure the turnaround on Mills Avenue off North Shore Road exists was honored with a dedication there on Saturday.
Gerald J. Esposito, a former Ward 5 councilor for the city, and a Korean War veteran for the U.S. Navy, will have a piece of his legacy left behind at a location he vocally advocated for during his tenure as councilor. His name will permanently be displayed on a memorial sign at the turnaround, just six months after his death at 87 years old.
“Mr. Esposito, I think, was a testament to commitment in the community and the service he provided for our city, for the country, and for the state,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “He and his family will have something to memorialize him forever in our city.”
Aside from being a ward councilor, he was the administrative assistant to Bill Reinstein, who was the mayor from 1972 to 1978. Esposito even ran for mayor himself, during a controversial election that called for a recount, and spent a few years as a lieutenant state trooper. The Chelsea native not only held a passionate commitment to Revere, but to his family as well. He and his wife Toni were married for 61 years and had two children, Jay and Andrea.
“He was a guy who had his own, very clear mind and he wasn’t one that you could control,” said his wife. “He loved this city and it’s very nice they’re putting his name somewhere he fought to get the funds for.”
Even before Esposito became a ward councilor, residents wanted an easier access route to navigate between Revere and Lynn. Until the turnaround on Mills Avenue was complete, anyone living near Riverside who wanted to get to their neighboring city had to drive all the way to Oak Island, turn around, and make their way back toward Riverside before reaching Lynn. When Esposito was elected, he proposed a variety of ways to get the funding for the necessary project.
“This area is always going to be one that any ward councilor will care about,” said Arrigo. “His advocacy for it is obviously what drove the city and his family to choose this location.”
The mayor, the city’s veteran agent, and the rest of the city council presented the sign to Esposito’s family during the Memorial Day ceremony in May. Whenever a veteran is being honored, the city always asks the family where they want the dedication to be located, according to Arrigo. Even before asking the family, they had their eyes on the Mills Avenue turnaround.
Esposito’s friends, family, former colleagues, and city officials attended the dedication. John Powers, the current Ward 5 councilor, didn’t work with Esposito closely, but he remains appreciative of the work he did.
“He brought what he had, and that was his concern for the city and where it was going,” said Powers. “He made sure that things being done were being done in a positive manner because when you are a ward councilor, it’s all about making sure you get back to your constituents and their concerns are addressed.”