SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

January 11, 2014

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt's inaugural speech

(Continued)

Last year, we opened the new East End Veterans Memorial Park at 45 Walnut St. We created two new playgrounds at Emerson Park and behind the Welch School. This year, we will embark on major renovations to Raddin Road Park in South Peabody, Symphony Park in West Peabody, and O’Connor Park in the Welch School neighborhood.

In our ongoing efforts to reduce flooding, last month we completed construction of a $2 million retention basin located at a key point between the Higgins Middle School and Centennial Park. The basin will hold back millions of gallons of water that would otherwise flow downtown.

Although this project will not solve our flooding problem, it – and other measures we have taken - represents a significant step in the right direction.

As today’s leaders, I believe we owe it to future generations to preserve open space, protect our natural resources and expand outdoor recreation for our residents. These will continue to be among my top priorities in the years ahead.

Historic preservation is on the rise.

We are in the midst of major renovations to City Hall and the Main Branch Library. Not only are both buildings downtown landmarks and centers for public meetings and events, but each is a living, breathing symbol of our rich Peabody history. I feel privileged to be the mayor who oversees these projects and consider them among the most important initiatives we have undertaken as a city.

Our city’s financial strength is on the rise.

Just last month, Moody’s Investor Services affirmed our AAL bond rating, the second highest bond rating a city or town can get. This stellar rating enabled us to get an interest rate of .11 percent on a $10 million note that finances many of the projects I’ve mentioned. The low rate also helps save Peabody taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest charges.

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