“You’ll be happy to know if you come to City Hall, you won’t have to worry about someone shaking you down,” said Dan Rivera, who was in the third week of his four-year term as mayor. “We are cleaning house.”
Rivera, who received enthusiastic applause after being introduced by Lupoli, was frank in his comments to the movers and shakers of the region.
“Thank you for sticking with the city,” he said. “We appreciate that you kept your business in Lawrence. We know it wasn’t easy.”
In the fall election, Rivera narrowly defeated incumbent mayor William Lantigua, who was popular, but whose administration was saddled with accounts of corruption.
Rivera stressed that Lawrence is “open for business again” and he was ready to start working closely with neighboring communities to improve the economy of the region.
“It’s important for people in other communities to know that we are part of the family,” he said in a brief interview with The Andover Townsman. He said his comment regarding “shakedowns” was meant to show that he has an “above-board organization that plays by the rules.”
He said his biggest push since being sworn in Jan. 2 is on law enforcement, and he spends two to three hours every day with the police chief.
“We are working to control crime,” he said, “so when you come down to dinner, you’ll have a pleasant experience.”
Haverhill Mayor Jim Fiorentini, meanwhile, touted his city’s success at rezoning the downtown to attract housing and more restaurants.
“We have $150 million in investment in downtown, including 550 new housing units and 850 new residents, including my son,” he said, adding that the 22 restaurants downtown have created a thriving business climate.
“It’s the best dining north of the North End,” he said, pointing out that the state recently awarded $5 million for a new boardwalk, which will link with a new rail trail to create what Fiorentini hoped would become “our own Emerald Necklace.”
Methuen Mayor Steve Zanni, also recently off a big election win, touted the Century Box multi-million-dollar expansion that will keep jobs and create new ones in the city, among other initiatives.