By Malden Mayor Gary Christenson
After two years in office, I am convinced that resident engagement and participation as well as easy access to information and services are essential to the continued success of our community. This was a goal during the past two years and will continue to be a priority in 2014.
This past year, we have made significant strides in the utilization of cutting edge technology in the areas of constituent services, public safety and education. It has allowed us to communicate with residents more effectively and efficiently. For those residents with a language barrier, the City implemented the Real Time Translation Mobile Interpretation System which allows police officers and first responders the ability to immediately access qualified interpreters.
Meanwhile, we have also made our community business friendly by making it easier to navigate the process. During the past year, I have been to more than a dozen grand openings to welcome new businesses that have chosen to locate in Malden. In the coming year, I anticipate many more ribbon cuttings and openings of new establishments. Specific to the Asian-related businesses, there will be a wide variety of restaurants and entertainment centers, ranging from a hot pot restaurant to a sushi bar, from a Korean restaurant to a place to enjoy karaoke.
In addition to a growing business climate, we continue to remain focused on improving the education of our students. Malden offers families the educational opportunity to attend public, private, charter, or vocational schooling. Recently, U.S. News and World Report recognized Malden High School and the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School as two of the top 50 Best High Schools in Massachusetts. Additionally, Malden partnered with Footsteps2Brilliance to launch a citywide reading initiative that connects home and school by utilizing smart phones, tablets and computers.
Currently, we are also actively moving forward with the downtown revitalization plan to demolish and relocate City Hall, reopen Pleasant Street and develop the remaining parcel as a means of realizing the true potential of the Malden Square. In the year of 2014, I envision a thriving downtown area for people to live, work, shop and dine with beautiful landscaping, brand-new LED street lights and street pavement, and a mix of existing and new businesses. We will also continue our work on the development of the Bike to the Sea Path, installation of the Community Gardens, and in making Malden more walkable and pedestrian friendly.
Finally, public safety will continue to be a top priority. I am pleased to note that we have recently reassigned officers to create a police presence in our schools and in the downtown and MBTA areas. In 2014, we will also have the benefit of a crime analyst who will not only enhance our ability to focus resources on reducing crime, but will also assist us in better informing the community about public safety.
Gary Christenson is mayor of Malden.
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