Mayor: 'We Will Build America's Greatest Urban Living Experience'
In the State of the City Address, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone spoke about improving schools, investing in East Somerville and figuring out "how to use our tools to reinvent the city again."
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, delivering the State of the City Address Monday night, said Somerville is "already the hottest, greatest urban environment in Greater Boston" and he called on the community to "build America's greatest urban living experience."
In his address, Curtatone, now midway through his fifth two-year term, said the city would focus on improving its schools, investing in East Somerville and building a "walkable" and "bikeable" urban landscape.
The mayor also drew applause in his staunch opposition to the idea of a casino coming to Somerville. While other communities are wooing casinos, Somerville is not, he said, adding, "Casinos are engines of urban decay, not urban renewal. It's a losing bet. As Robert DeNiro said in the movie 'Casino,' 'Remember, the house always wins.' Not the community."
Speaking at Somerville City Hall, the mayor said the city has chalked up recent accomplishments, including breaking ground on a new Orange Line MBTA station in Assembly Square, completing the Union Square Revitalization Plan, and being "voted the country's 10th most walkable city and 8th most bikeable."
He pointed to breaking ground on the first phase of the Green Line Extension, saying, "Not coincidentally, Union Square and East Somerville saw a new jolt of restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques."
Investing in East Somerville
With the planned expansion of the Green Line, the construction of the new East Somerville Community School and the renovation of Lower Broadway, Curtatone said East Somerville was on the verge of a renaissance.
"For years, we’ve invested heavily in West Somerville while the eastern part of our city soldiered on as a great but underfunded neighborhood," he said. "I am here tonight to declare quite unequivocally, it’s East Somerville’s turn."
The mayor spoke at length about the city's schools.
He said: "Our job is not just to make sure our median test scores improve, for a fixation on median scores allows for a system in which some are succeeding while others are failing. Our job is to make sure every child gets a chance to succeed."
Walking, biking and the environment
Curtatone said Somerville's efforts to create a better urban environment—including using Smart cars as city vehicles, switching to Zero Sort recycling and advocating for better public transportation—has shown that "cities, which for much of the last century were the epicenters of industrial pollution, could today be the engines of environmental protection and energy solutions."
He also said, "Let's become the most walkable, bikeable city in America."
You can read Curtatone's whole speech in the PDF above.