The highlight of the week for us was the slide show presentation at the Town Council’s Fall Forum that depicted the “before” and “after” photos of all the physical and cosmetic improvements that are happening all over the Town of Winthrop. The slide show was very telling of all the work that has been done or is in progress, making our town look better than it ever has in its history. Town Councilor Linda Calla was right on the mark when she used the word “amazing” after the slide show to describe the total transformation of our town.
Town Manager James McKenna had to be beaming with pride that his efforts and vision for the town have been so well-received by the Council and by so many of the long-time residents, who see the changes and notice that long-dormant properties such as the Dalrymple School and the Winthrop Hospital are becoming new again, while the project at the Temple Tifereth Israel site rapidly moves toward completion as well. We haven’t even begun to talk about the new middle/high school project that will be ready in two school years and which is one of the things being attributed to the 10 per cent rise in property values of Winthrop homes.
McKenna took the time to publicly commend DPW Director Steve Calla for all that he and his department have done in our public spaces, streets, sidewalks, parks, and cemeteries. If James McKenna is the Belichick of this well-led operation, then Calla is the Brady behind Winthrop’s tremendous physical resurgence.
It was Town Council President Peter Gill who launched the Parks Committee, an that idea seemed to ignite a focus and a passion for our playgrounds and parks townwide. Our parks have never looked better or more inviting for use, and by next summer our children will have excellent recreational areas throughout the town.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the leadership of Police Chief Terence Delehanty and Fire Chief Paul Flanagan who — thanks to the tough teeth of our town ordinances — have targeted some of the unsightly properties that were in the town and have helped make these homes safer and habitable once again. What a team effort it truly has been by our police, fire, and new inspectional services department to target these unsafe and abandoned properties and bring life back to them, thus improving the neighborhoods.
We believe we heard Chief Flanagan say that he never has seen a better or more-coordinated effort in his three decades of services to the town than he is seeing today under the leadership of Town Manager James McKenna.
The fiscal situation in our town is also in excellent shape and we commend CFO Tim Gordon and his team for the town’s sound financial status.
And finally, our hats are off to Superintendent of Schools John Macero, who spoke at the Fall Forum and enlightened everyone that every student in grades 8 through 12 has been given an iPad for their use, which will certainly enhance each student’s educational experience. It’s also exciting that our students are being introduced to world languages at an earlier grade and that the dramatic arts and musical instruments are receiving the attention these areas deserve in our children’s educational experience. It was great to hear Macero promise football coach Sean Driscoll that there will be a marching band at football games within the next three years.
It begins at the top with our outstanding town manager, but as James McKenna himself told Winthrop residents, it’s been a total team effort by the Council, School Committee, department heads, and employees.