I, like many of you, was angered with the process of the Broadway Project. This project has been in the works for many years before my tenure began and is an improvement project that has been viewed as necessary to increase safety and access in our city. The potential benefits in terms of improved infrastructure and increased accessibility cannot be understated.
However, we all understand that even with important infrastructure improvements such as this, what threatens its success is process and communication.
The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly disrupted normal operations, including public meetings and information dissemination. While this is a valid reason for communication challenges during the planning phase, it does not explain the lack of proper process before and after Covid. Clear and effective communication is the backbone of successful community projects, and it's time to bridge the gap that was widened from its initial state to now.
I voted yes on the project because the majority of Lynn residents as well as those that will be directly affected by the construction of this project have expressed a need for these improvements. My vote was made with the understanding that improved communication is not only critical for the Broadway project but also sets a precedent for other large-scale initiatives on the horizon. It's imperative that we avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and commit to fostering an open dialogue with residents that will feel the effects of a large-scale project, the neighborhood, and the city as a whole. This entails establishing a well-defined channel of communication, and I strongly advocated for the appointment of a single city point person who can serve as a reliable source of information and a liaison between stakeholders.
I am proud to say that I have brought this to the mayor's office who has created a Notification Policy that will ensure communication is translated for non English speakers, will give advance notice of construction and a point person will be directly responsible for not only communicating with affected community members, but will also ensure that all processes are followed and respected by city hall.In addition to this, proactive measures will be essential to ensure that citizens are well-informed and have the opportunity to provide feedback. Well-publicized information sessions and feedback meetings held well in advance of any significant project can help address concerns, build consensus, and refine project plans. This approach not only fosters transparency but also empowers the community to actively engage in shaping the development of their own neighborhood and serves as a way to restore trust in our local government.
For projects that involve property acquisitions or takings, it's crucial to provide residents with a clear and accessible path to challenge valuations. This process should be fair, transparent, and respectful of individuals' rights, as this fosters a sense of trust and cooperation between the citizens and the city. Citizens must feel that their concerns are not only heard but also taken seriously.
This was also a condition I put forward to the mayor's office and will be carried out by the designated city point person. Additionally, independent auditors should not have any conflict of interest that will cast doubt on the process, this too will be addressed through the point person.
Ultimately, the success of the Broadway improvement project, and any project for that matter, hinges on the perception that the city is working for the people it represents, rather than creating an adversarial "us versus them" dynamic. When the residents of Lynn feel that their voices are heard and that their interests are prioritized, we create a stronger sense of community and shared purpose.
I hope that my demands for commitments from the mayor's office will build a more inclusive, transparent, and collaborative approach, where we can ensure that the benefits of this project extend far beyond physical infrastructure, fostering a renewed sense of unity and pride in our neighborhood and our city.