MARLBOROUGH – Marlborough Mayor Arthur Vigeant delivered his 11th annual State of the City Address on Thursday.
Speaking to the Marlborough Rotary Club, the mayor discussed items ranging from Marlborough’s COVID-19 response to upcoming budget requests.
He reiterated priorities laid out last month in his inaugural address while touching on a handful of other topics.
Vigeant optimistic on COVID-19 outlook
Indeed, beginning with a short update on the coronavirus, Vigeant noted that the city only had 50 active cases as of Feb. 9, according to data from the Marlborough Health Department. He celebrated ongoing vaccine clinics as well as a program providing free antigen tests for residents.
“Everybody’s been stepping up to the plate for us,” Vigeant said.
Vigeant specifically praised Superintendent of Schools Michael Bergeron for working with unions representing faculty and staff within the Marlborough Public Schools to keep students in the classroom.
“When you heard all the stories about teachers and administrators in Boston not really cooperating and more interested in themselves than in the kids, we had the opposite,” Vigeant said. “So, I can’t thank our educators enough for what they’ve done.”
Vigeant further noted the Goodnow Brothers Elementary School, which opened in Sept 2020 after being completed on time and more than $10 million under budget despite the pandemic
Vigeant gives economic forecast for the city, housing development
Vigeant lauded the Marlborough Economic Development Corporation’s efforts in assisting small businesses with Paycheck Protection Program loans.
That program has helped 33 small businesses secure grants worth approximately $133,000.
The city of Marlborough earned that rating in 2019 and has maintained it throughout the pandemic.
“I know that, for me, it’s been a personal thing for a long time,” Vigeant said. “When we achieved that a few years ago, it was great.”
Vigeant further discussed capital projects, like ongoing work at Marlborough’s senior housing facility on Pleasant St.
Those buildings host 42 units. Work there received a $7 million investment for renovations, which are about half completed, according to Vigeant.
“When you’re working with [the Department of Housing and Community Development] things don’t go too quick, so it’s been frustrating,” he said. “It was really important to get these units renovated.”
Vigeant speaks on energy efficiency, reducing emissions
Vigeant shined a spotlight on energy efficiency efforts in Marlborough, calling the city’s environmental efforts “one of those things we don’t tout enough.”
“We’re probably one of the greenest communities in the state,” he said.
Marlborough has had a municipal aggregation contract with Inspire Energy since Aug. 2020. That contract secures lower electric rates for residents until 2024. The contract, according to Vigeant, is also 100% green.
The city additionally now uses LED lights within its street lights. It has expanded its fleet of electric vehicles and installed vehicle charging stations.
“We’ll be adding to that program moving forward,” Vigeant said of that latter charging effort.
Vigeant talks community development, proposed future budget
The Marlborough Public Library has continued to receive a makeover, with construction slated to conclude in Spring 2023.
The City Council previously approved a $24 million bond for the project, with $10 million in funding coming directly from the state.
Speaking on Thursday, Vigeant encouraged donations to help the Marlborough Public Library Foundation fundraise the $2 million it also committed to the project.
Vigeant said the city will also continue to host the Food Truck Festival, was revived last year.
Vigeant described future plans for the city as well, which he plans to note in his budget request in coming weeks.
Some of his hopes include finishing a walking trail around the perimeter of Lake Williams, creating a dek hockey facility, developing Court Street and Weed Street, and finding a location for a dog park in town.
“I’m gonna be going down to the council in the next couple of weeks to ask for a bunch of money,” Vigeant said.