Mayor Gary Christenson Hosts State of the City Address

On the 25th of February 2020, the Teen Center brought the Malden Youth Civic Council to the State of the City Address which was hosted by Mayor Gary Christenson at Anthony’s of Malden. The State of the City Address was sponsored by Cantella, a business management consulate in Malden, the Malden Chamber of Commerce as well as a variety of other sponsors.  The State of the City Address talks about what has occurred throughout Malden during the past year as well as any plans for future projects.

“Now let the games begin,” said Donna Denoncourt, president of the Malden Chamber of Commerce, before the entrance video of Christenson playing a series of video games as he made his way to Anthony’s of Malden began. Every year, the State of the City Address follows a certain theme. This year, the theme for the address was video games.  

The State of the City Address first addressed the development of the new City Hall.  Christenson explained that “the former Malden government center complex has now transformed into J Malden Center.” Christenson further explained that J Malden Center will be a mixed-use development as well as serve as the new City hall. Christenson noted how the move into the new City Hall in mid-April.  

The State of the City Address next addressed the police department. Christenson began, explaining that “the outstanding work of our police force is due to the improved communication with our residents.” Christenson continued, explaining that the Malden Police Department has been using social media platforms in order to “connect and inform the public.” Christenson continued, noting on the National Night Out that was hosted in August before continuing to the newly established position called the Community Resource Officer, which will be filled by Steve Fitzpatrick. Christenson ended the segment, announcing the provision of a Visor card to those that have a hearing impairment, explaining that “the purpose of the cards is to bridge the initial communication gap with the police by letting them know that an individual can not hear nor understand one’s instructions.”

The opening video to the State of the City Address. Photo by Brandon Wong.

Following addressing the Police Department, the Fire Department was addressed next.  Christenson began addressing the Fire Department by recounting the celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the grand opening of the Central District Station. Christenson continued, explaining how a tour was conducted following the ceremony, with a time capsule being reburied with plans to be opened in 2119. Following this, Christenson began explaining the new facilities for the Fire Departments’ maintenance and training division. Christenson explains that the new space will be used to store equipment and serve as an active training site. Christenson ends the Fire Department segment by announcing that preparation for the retirement of Fire Chief Kevin Finn, who will be replaced by Bill Sullivan.  

After addressing the Fire Department, Christenson began addressing the topic of climate emergencies. Christenson noted on the current status of the municipal volubility preparedness plan that is currently being developed by the emergency management team. Christenson continued, explaining that the Municipal Volubility Preparedness Plan is developed in order to analyze the negative impacts caused by climate change in order to build resilience to climate change.

“In continuing the tradition of paying tribute to our heroes,” said Christenson before announcing the creation of a monument for those who served in the Vietnam and Korean war.  The monument is planned to be unveiled on Veterans day in 2020. Christenson continued by announcing that digital access for a listing of buried records of those buried in a cemetery located in Malden as well as the addition of solar panels to cemeteries located in Malden with hopes that it will make them more energy efficient.

Following addressing the recent additions to the cemeteries in Malden, Christenson proceeded to note on the accomplishments made in the middle schools, such as a paper straw initiative, and the Malden High School, recognizing the MHS robotics team placing 7th in the world in an international competition in Oklahoma City and many more. Christenson continued, announcing the development of a student-based health center located in the High School called the Star Center.

Malden’s Board of Health has been working with the Cambridge health alliance, Mass. General Hospital and Melrose wakefield health care, and an advisory board this past year to conduct a community health need assessment in Malden and Everett. Christenson continued, explaining that a board will be established in order to follow through with the plans of the assessment.  

Mayor Gary Christenson speaking at the State of the Malden City Address. Photo by Brandon Wong.

Last year, the recreation department has set up three lacrosse and softball clinics for youth, a Saturday morning basketball program, sports competition on the middle school level as well as “an overhaul of the clubhouse” at McDonald Stadium, and the introduction of the step team on the middle school level.  

Christenson continued, acknowledging the movement of the Teen Center followed by the clean up of the Malden River that the Teen Center had worked with the Friends of the Malden River.  With the Junior Aid Association, the Teen Center was able to host several events and plan many activities.

Last year, the Senior Center hosted many popular events such as a Talent Show, a masquerade ball, and a Health and Beauty Day. Christenson continued, announcing that the Senior Center has transitioned to the use of the transportation agency SCM Transportation.  This allows Seniors to make trips to hospitals in the Boston area.  

The Local Mass Senior Action Council has been working with the City Council and is now moving forward with 3 affordable housing strategies, with the Affordable Housing Trust  Fund being established in November. The second affordable housing strategy is the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance which is currently seeking a financial feasibility analysis. The final affordable housing strategy is the Security deposit pilot program, which is currently seeking funds to establish the funds.  

Following the assessment of the three Affordable Housing Strategies, Christenson commended the efforts of the Malden Public Library. Christenson continues, calling the Library as a “winner in promoting literacy and creating innovative opportunities for learning.” The Malden Public Library had also been awarded a Library Census Equity Grant which will be used to buy more computers in order to achieve an accurate census count.  

In order to get a complete count for the census, a Steering Committee has been established with representatives with many groups in order to get an accurate count for the census.  The committee is currently seeking volunteers that speak multiple languages to assist in the completion of the census.

Christenson continues the Address by recounting the series of traditions that have been held in Malden such as the Christmas Tree lighting.

The Malden Youth Civics Council and the Malden Teen Center at the State of the City Address. Photo by Brandon Wong.

Art is the next topic, as Christenson continues the address, mentioning the series of murals and artworks that have been recently added in Malden and along with the bike path. “It is not only the art line that energizes our creative economy,” said Christenson, explaining the success of the pop-up art gallery, along with mentioning the opening of the New Gallery in October. Art in the community is not the only recent art addition to Malden as City Council member Debbie DeMaria worked with students at The Malden High School and the Malden Catholic High School, the Malden Historical commission and a local graphic design artist to design a new logo for the city.

The next topic addressed in the State of the City Address is the parks in Malden.  Christenson continued, explaining the series of parks that are expected to receive renovations and additions and replacement in old play equipment. This was then followed by announcing plans to renovate Trafton Park that will follow the master plan that was developed through a series of committee meetings that was led by City Council members David Camell and Stephen Winslow.

The Malden River Works Project was brought up, as Christenson continued to explain the several steps that were taken to complete the Malden River Works Project. The next meeting for the project will be held at the Senior Center at 6:30 pm on April 16, 2020.

Plans to improve infrastructure in Malden have been made, with the improvement on sidewalks being made a priority. With the eradication of the lead line, exceeding the goals set the previous year.

Christenson ended the State of the City Address with the recent commercial buildings that were added to Malden. “These additions bring our total to nearly half-million square feet of commercial space, added or renovated in the last 24 months,” explained Christenson, before welcoming the new businesses that have started up in Malden.  

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