Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt discusses the recently completed changes to Main Street during the annual State of the Region breakfast put on by the North Shore Chamber of Commerce this week. Credit: John Castelluccio
As Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt's first term comes to a close, he says he's very grateful for the advice and support he's received from his fellow mayors and town managers on the North Shore.
Speaking at the North Shore Chamber of Commerce's annual State of the Region breakfast on Wednesday, Bettencourt listed off a number of accomplishments in Peabody from the past year as well as some priorities going forward.
Those highlights included the long-awaited Main Street realignment project to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists, beautify the area and also improve access to shops along the street.
"The early reviews are in and they've been outstanding," Bettencourt said, although adding he might "be in trouble" if he was an elected official in Salem or Marblehead instead. He said he's received numerous complaints from commuters who have to trek through the downtown to get to the highway.
And now that Main Street is done, Bettencourt wants to focus on redesigning Peabody Square into a more traditional four-way intersection. He also mentioned the recent Downtown Sidewalk Bazaar and two key downtown buildings that are now slated for redevelopment.
He said private investors are taking notice of the city's efforts to invest and revitalize the downtown, as well as in other areas, such as Centennial Industrial Park. A new building with a variety of commercial uses is planned now for the park.
Bettencourt also noted the city has hit milestones toward building a new middle school starting in 2014 and has saved $3 million in the past year alone due to the new health insurance deal with all 14 of the city's unions to move them into the state's Group Insurance Commission.
"I think some exciting things are happening in the city of Peabody," he said.