SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

January 11, 2014

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt's inaugural speech

(Continued)

Today in Peabody, education is on the rise.

Thanks to the strong support of the City Council, School Committee and the community as a whole, we will break ground on a brand new state-of–the-art Higgins Middle School this spring.

A priority of mine since I first announced I would run for mayor, this $92 million facility represents a historic investment in public education in Peabody.

We will be reimbursed by the state some 56 percent of construction costs and I am personally committed to delivering the school on time and on budget.

Open space and recreation are on the rise.

In 2014 we will launch a $2.2 million multi-year renovation of Crystal Lake and Elginwood Pond. For too long, this natural treasure has been neglected, under-utilized, and dismissed with just passing thoughts to its potential. My vision for the lake includes clean, clear water, benches and picnic tables for family gatherings, multiple docks for canoe launching and paddle boats, a historic nature trail and other amenities which encourage residents and visitors to enjoy its quiet setting and natural beauty.

This summer, we will complete a major renovation to our high school athletic complex, highlighted by a new track and multi-use synthetic turf field. Peabody boasts a long tradition of successful sports and recreation programs. This new athletic complex will help continue that tradition for generations to come.

Having been raised in a family that stressed the importance of playing sports, being active, and staying out of trouble, I want Peabody to continue to be a place where kids have many great opportunities to play and have fun every day. This year, Peabody was named a “Playful City USA” by the national non-profit organization Kaboom! for our on-going commitment to encouraging physical activity and play among children.

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