LYNN — As he ticks off his 100th day in office, Mayor Jared C. Nicholson shows no signs of slowing down after getting a fast start on turning the agenda he mapped out prior to his landslide victory last November into reality.
“It’s important to make progress on multiple issues. We’re taking on a lot,” he said in a Monday interview with The Item.
For any Lynn resident who doubts that Nicholson’s deliberate approach to city government is underpinned by urgency, here are a few examples of goals he wants to meet this year:
— He wants a city ordinance mapping out details of the ambitious Housing Lynn plan, with its affordable housing components, in place by August.
— The city received $75 million in American Rescue Plan Act money and Nicholson wants to see $58 million yet to be budgeted used for parks, housing and other needs sometime this summer.
“These are initial steps to a bigger goal. I’m grateful for the collaboration I have received,” Nicholson said.
That collaboration has centered on City Council President Jay Walsh, who joined forces with Nicholson weeks into the new year to move forward with scrapping the city’s archaic employee residency requirement and forming a Lynn Development Team to reform development proposal review at the city level.
“This put in place a predictable system so that true collaboration can occur, which will lead to quality projects in the city,” said Nicholson.
Housing Lynn is a road map for city housing-creation strategies intended to address Lynn’s housing affordability challenges. According to statistics provided a year ago by the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, between 2015 and 2018, median rent for a two-bedroom apartment went up 27 percent, and the median home sale price went up 34 percent in Lynn.
Lynn is the sixth most-expensive city for housing in the Boston Metro area.
“The goal is to be harnessing development that is happening in the city, as it is another mechanism to create affordable housing,” Nicholson said.
This is a big week for Nicholson. He threw the weight of the mayor’s office behind two proposals on Tuesday night’s council agenda: the rDNA technology ordinance and eminent domain taking of 2 State St. and 37 Friend St.
Recombinant or artificial DNA is a key component of life-sciences technology spurring business growth in Boston and searches by companies for new industrial space in cities like Lynn.
The technology is heavily-regulated, Nicholson said, by the federal government. He said the rDNA ordinance “is about introducing local oversight capacity” leading to a two-pronged approach to identifying prospective industry sites and local workforce opportunities.
Nicholson said city takings of two privately-owned buildings are necessitated by “a tremendous need for space” for city and school services, including the public schools welcome center planned for the former bank building at the corner of Market and State streets.
“The law is that the owners receive the fair market value. We expect that is what’s going to happen here,” he said.
He said the city is also making progress in the first 100 days of his administration on the school construction and public safety fronts. A request for services for a project manager for the Pickering Middle School project has been put out with applications forthcoming.
He said a consultant will be on hand in the next couple of weeks to begin working on details associated with the unarmed crisis-response (ALERT) team, including “who exactly will be staffing ALERT at what levels.”
Multiple deadlines and ambitious agenda can’t keep Nicholson from seeing the humorous side of his job. A car-load of teenagers passed him one late afternoon as he walked back to City Hall and one of the teens yelled out, “Hey, aren’t you the mayor?”
Nicholson obliged them with an answer: “Then I started to tell them what I do, and they drove off,” he said.