- Name: Peter McGinn
- Age: 50
- Occupation: Director of Global Business Operations at Avnet Inc.
- Political office: None, but member of Community Preservation Committee and Mayor's Downtown Advisory Committee
Peabody Patch: What are the top three issues in Ward 2 and what do you propose to do about them?
Pete McGinn: After listening to many Ward 2 residents, the top issues they have identified are: traffic and safety, road and sidewalk conditions and flooding.
Delays in certain areas, cut-through traffic in several neighborhoods and disruptive truck traffic are concerns to many. The challenge is keeping traffic flowing at a pace that does not compromise safety and allows people to enjoy their homes peacefully. In the downtown, I support synchronization of the lights to lessen delays that occur at peak times; however traffic flow must be calm so pedestrian safety is not jeopardized. In neighborhoods, I support a combination of ongoing enforcement of restrictions by the police and, where necessary, additional controls (signage, lights etc.), to keep trucks off streets on which they are not permitted and to discourage drivers from speeding. The streets of Ward 2 need to be safe for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians including senior citizens and our children.
While city-wide, there has been progress on infrastructure, many residents are frustrated with delays in road and sidewalk repairs. It comes down to funding. I support working with the city’s representatives at the state level to pursue additional funding, Chapter 90 and Gateway sources, for Ward 2’s needed road and sidewalk repair projects.
Flooding has had a large and negative impact in several areas across Ward 2. To mitigate flooding, I support efforts to increase upstream water retention. These include the establishment of new and maintenance of existing retention areas and viewing any proposed development with an eye toward improving retention. I support the mayor’s efforts to establish aggressive and ongoing maintenance of culverts to eliminate blockages. I would advocate for larger scale projects that have been studied if convinced they would achieve desired results and could be completed cost effectively. I believe Peabody should work in cooperation with Salem to seek regional solutions to flooding and tap external funding sources.
Patch: What do you see as the most pressing issue for the City Council to address (more on a citywide basis)?
McGinn: Beyond Ward 2, the city faces a number of issues with development, the protection and enhancement of the tax base and generally providing high grade city services.
I recently heard a quote: “The best way to cope with change is to participate in it.” I’m not sure to whom to attribute it, but I think this quote is directly applicable to the topic of development. Neighborhoods have needs and interests they understandably want to protect, simultaneously, property owners have certain rights they choose to exercise to their benefit. The two are sometimes incompatible. As a ward councillor, I will work in cooperation with the City Council, the mayor, various city departments, residents and developers to seek quality development that works for all involved.
Having worked in several office parks including Centennial, I fully appreciate the need for change. I enthusiastically support the mayor’s initiative to re-brand Centennial and attract new businesses and other complimentary uses that will protect and enhance this vital portion of Peabody’s commercial tax base. There are also positive signs that private investment is following the public investment made in the downtown with the recent news of the sale of some significant buildings. The long planned improvements of the downtown can only be successful with this type of private investment and gradual upgrading of uses. Improvements to the area will give Peabody residents good reasons to go downtown while also enhancing tax revenues.
The citizens of Peabody expect and deserve good city services. The school system, public safety, public works, parks and recreation and other vital functions need to be properly funded and managed to achieve results. This needs to be done in a fiscally responsible manner. With 28 years of business experience involved with developing and managing budgets, I will bring a skill set to the City Council that understands balancing needs with fiscal realities.
Patch: Do you have a humorous or interesting anecdote to share from your campaign so far?
McGinn: I was talking to neighborhood residents on Carlton Street and went to the house of good friends Patty and Brian Brunelle. My daughter Anna was with me and Brian saw that she had a camera. Brian scooped me up off my feet and Anna snapped a photo which is really pretty funny – now that’s what I call support!