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February 20, 2013

Scanlon highlights Beverly's progress

Mayor 'still thinking about' running for re-election

BEVERLY — Mayor Bill Scanlon painted a rosy picture of the state of the city last night, saying Beverly is poised to benefit from projects ranging from a new middle school to a Brimbal Avenue interchange upgrade that could lead to thousands of jobs.

In his annual State of the City address in the nearly full City Council chambers, Scanlon made no mention of the one subject that many wondered if he would broach — whether or not he will run for re-election to see it all happen.

But he did sound excited about the future, saying that he and his team at City Hall “enjoy what we are doing and make every effort to do it well.”

“We are fully aware of the trust you have placed in us,” he said at the end of his 26-minute speech. “Rest assured that our passion to further improve our city will not wane.”

Asked afterward if he will seek re-election, Scanlon said, “I’m still thinking about it. I’m thinking about it hard.”

As he has done in past speeches, Scanlon, in his 18th year as mayor, laid out a series of projects that he said will continue to improve the quality of life in the city.

At the top of the list is the Brimbal Avenue upgrade, which Scanlon has long touted as the best way to create more tax revenue to fund the improvements the city needs.

The project, which would be conducted in two phases, would cost more than $25 million and would make several changes to the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 area, including construction of an overpass across Route 128.

In addition to improving traffic flow and safety, Scanlon said the changes will open up property on both sides of the highway to development, increasing the city’s tax base. The entire project, he said, has the potential to create as many as 7,500 “good new jobs” in the region over a five- to 10-year period.

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