Commits to better schools, increased access to affordable housing
BOSTON – Tuesday, January 13, 2015 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh tonight delivered his first State of the City Address, laying out his vision to build on the work of the past year to create a thriving, healthy, and innovative city for all residents and neighborhoods in Boston.
“I’m pleased to report that the state of our city is strong, and getting stronger,” said Mayor Walsh. “Our economy is flourishing, and many more people are working. We are protecting the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, while delivering the best results ever in city services. We are getting guns off the streets and investing in our neighborhoods. City Hall is more representative of the people it serves than ever before. As Boston approaches its 400th birthday, our goal is a thriving, healthy, and innovative city for all - one community that is a global leader for the 21st century.”
Improving Education for Today and the Future
In his remarks, the Mayor called for a school system that betters serves all of Boston’s children, emphasizing his commitment to finding a Superintendent of Boston Public Schools who will strengthen Boston’s schools today, and for the next generation.
In his first year, Mayor Walsh successfully negotiated to add 40 minutes of learning time for every student through eighth grade, worked to expand full-day pre-kindergarten to more children in Boston, tripled the size of the Success Boston college completion program, revamped the Boston School Committee, and is working to redesign high school programming to serve as pathways to college and career.
In his address, the Mayor announced:
The launch of a Children’s Savings Account (CSA) for College pilot program, giving Boston families a new tool to help save for college.
The creation of a Boston School Building Authority, to tap funding sources for new schools that the City has failed to secure in the past.
A new partnership with global software company SAP that will create a high-tech pipeline for students from Charlestown High School, connecting them with Bunker Hill Community College and job placements.
Spurring Innovation, Supporting Creativity
The Mayor knows that Boston will thrive when the City invests in innovation in every neighborhood, and makes city government accessible to every resident.
ParkBoston, a new mobile app available now that will allow drivers to pay the parking meter with a smart phone.
StartHub, to unify and bolster start-ups, support entrepreneurs growing businesses in Boston, and market Boston’s startup scene to the world.
Upgrading the Mayor’s Hotline with a more effective and convenient 311 system.
Creating a cross-departmental, citywide Office of Analytics, to bring the power of big data to city services and operations, and a full-time “start up czar” to help entrepreneurs grow businesses in Boston.
Putting out a Request for Information inviting ideas for significant upgrades in space and programming on City Hall Plaza.
Stronger Neighborhoods, Making Housing More Accessible, Affordable
Mayor Walsh knows that Boston will only thrive when housing is affordable and accessible and neighborhoods are strong. As a result of investments in the City’s urban park structure result, 97% of Bostonians live within a 10-minute walk of a park—making Boston first in the nation in access to parks. Last year, the Mayor laid out his Boston 2030 plan, calling for the creation of 53,000 new housing units to accommodate the expected 91,000 new Bostonians by 2030.
Making 250 city-owned parcels available for development through the Neighborhood Homes Initiative to provide housing for low- and middle-income families where it is needed most.
“Main Street Makeovers,” beginning with Bowdoin-Geneva in Dorchester and Grove Hall in Roxbury, Main Street Makeovers will provide targeted public space upgrades, extra help for small businesses and priority services from Public Works.
Pushing the City’s universities to build more dorms to help solve the City’s student housing problems and relieve pressure on rents in the neighborhoods.
Asking the Massachusetts Legislature to support giving a tax break to developers of middle income and workforce housing.
Helping Our Most Vulnerable Residents
The Mayor recognizes the urgent need to relieve the pressures associated with cost of living and reiterated his commitment to ending homelessness in Boston, with a safe shelter, access to services and transitional housing.
Boston Water & Sewer Commission will boost the water discount for all senior and disabled homeowners to 30 percent. The Mayor has called on other utilities - National Grid, NStar and Comcast - to follow suit.
Asking the Massachusetts Legislature to support a senior set-aside in the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
In December, Boston was selected as one of 35 cities from around the world to be invited to join the 100 Resilient Cities Network, a project of the Rockefeller Foundation that supplies its member cities with tools, funding and other resources to build resilience to the challenges of the 21st century. The grant will be used to convene a citywide conversation aimed at healing divisions in the community.