Mayor Thomas M. McGee already made history before he took the podium for his state of the city address.
According to Council President Darren Cyr, “This is the first time in the history of the city that the mayor has come to address the city from the Council Chambers and give the city address.”
McGee, the 58th mayor of the city, delivered an optimistic address, thanking at the outset “the dedicated city employees who continue to work hard to ensure our residents get the service they need and deserve.”
He said while he wishes “there were an easy fix for the dire financial state Lynn is in,” the city is strong and he sees “a community that comes together and works to improve the city for everyone.”
“These (financial) challenges will not be solved overnight,” said McGee. “I am committed to making difficult decisions that are in the best interest of our city, because I am confident that our city – the city we all believe in – will come out on the other side of this challenging time stronger than we have ever been.”
McGee noted the economic development that is progressing in throughout city, including new restaurants and other businesses, and “a variety of housing options are beginning to advance.”
“The historic 10-story mixed-use development on Munroe Street is already under construction, and the North Harbor site will break ground this spring,” said McGee. “With the Minot Street project, affordable houses will be built by the Neighborhood Development Associates, where vacant GE lots have laid dormant – breathing new life into West Lynn. The Lynn Armory will be transformed into mixed-income housing our veterans can afford”
He cited the ongoing process of updating the city’s Waterfront Master Plan, “working with MIT’s Department of Urban Planning on a land use study for West Lynn along the Saugus River and part of the adjacent Western Avenue corridor, and establishing an Open Space Master Plan.”
A good portion of McGee’s address, focused on the Lynn school system. “We are strong because of our commitment to our children and their future,” said McGee.
The mayor then showed the people in the audience that he “did his homework” for the state of the city address in thorough fashion, compiling some of the achievements and college destinations of some of Lynn’s most outstanding students such as:
Chrineiris Reynoso of Lynn English, student representative to the School Committee, who will be attending Duke University;
Sarah Sirois of Lynn Classical, who has begun her studies at the U.S. Naval Academy;
David Barrios of Lynn Tech, star quarterback, who will be in the pre-medical program at Tufts University beginning this fall;
And Viktoria Chiek, class valedictorian at KIPP, who is attending Stanford University.
The mayor said the teachers and faculty of Lynn Public Schools go above and beyond to prepare their students for the next stage of life.
Supt. of Lynn Schools Dr. Patrick Tutwiler, who was in attendance at City Hall, said he was appreciative of the praise and encouragement from the mayor about the positive things happening in the district. “The Mayor did a nice job reflecting the work that teachers and students do in this district every single day,” said Tutwiler. “The fact that our students are attending the best colleges in America should not be a surprise to anyone in this city.”
City officials and residents gave Mayor McGee a standing ovation following his speech. The state-of-the city address also served as another prideful event for the family of the mayor, including his wife, Maria McGee, his mother-in-law, Barbara Desmarais, and his sister, Colleen Kavanaugh.
The mayor’s children, twins Thomas and Katherine, were away at college. “I think we’re live on Facebook, so my daughter is watching at Villanova. Today is my twins’ twenty-first birthday, so they’re not here with us today, but I think they’re enjoying a big day in their lives. I send a shutout to them as well.”