Framingham residents made their way to the polls Tuesday, casting their votes for the soon-to- be city’s first mayor.
According to a tweet from MetroWest Daily News reporter Jim Haddadin, approximately 39 percent of the town’s inhabitants went out to vote for mayor – the largest turnout of voters in any election in Framingham in the last 25 years.
That’s not at all surprising given how historic this election was.
Winning the mayoral election with approximately 58 percent of the vote, Yvonne Spicer, a vice president at the Museum of Science in Boston, will work with the new 11-member city council to reshape Framingham’s government.
Given this drastic change in the 317-year-old town’s form of governance, we at The Gatepost would like to suggest some ways Spicer and her team could make Framingham a better place to live.
Although Framingham has bustling shopping centers such as Shoppers World and Natick Mall, they aren’t the most accessible places to get to. In fact, much of Framingham’s businesses are just off Route 9, and most can only be reached by car. This has resulted in major traffic congestion, and people often must walk along and across the busy highway.
Given that Framingham is now becoming a city, Spicer should work to make Framingham a metropolitan area similar to Boston and Worcester. More sidewalks and bikeways need to be placed in Framingham so it can really become a modern and accessible city.
With that in mind, Framingham’s new city council should also work on reaching out to small businesses to ensure they have the resources they need so they can thrive in Framingham’s downtown. The only way Framingham’s economy will continue to thrive is if businesses’ needs are met. And downtown is in dire need of revitalization. With it only being about two miles away from campus, the area has the potential to become a hotbed of commercial and cultural activity.
During an open debate among the at-large city councilor candidates, Cheryl Tully Stoll, one of the recently elected at large councilors, proposed the creation of a small business round table made up of business owners from all areas of Framingham.
In her new role, we hope Tully Stoll works on making this round table a reality. Specifically, we hope this new round table will help bolster commercial development in Framingham, since, as of late, residential development has received most of the attention.
An issue raised during the election is the clear divide between North and South Framingham. We at The Gatepost hope to see the new city government work toward unifying the city and ensuring equal funding for projects and services throughout the city.
There are many areas in Framingham that need improvement. However, January 2018 marks another historic moment – the first day Spicer will be in office as the first popularly elected female African American mayor in Massachusetts. We hope to see her and the new government thrive in their efforts to build a better Framingham.