FRAMINGHAM- On Monday, Jan. 1, 2018, Nevins Hall, in Framingham’s Memorial Building, echoed with cheers and applause. The City of Framingham celebrated the new year with the inauguration of its first Mayor, Yvonne Spicer.
Framingham was founded in 1700. For 317 years, it was recognized as a town.
However, in April of 2017, its residents voted to switch to a city form of government. Now, from 2018 and on, Framingham will be recognized as a city.
Though the official inauguration ceremony started at 12 p.m., doors opened to the general public at 11:15 a.m. The diversity of the Framingham population was heavily represented amongst the ceremony attendees: individuals both young and old, caucasians, African-Americans, Latinos, and Brazilians. The common thread among all of these people? The hope for a strengthened sense of community.
According to Mayor Spicer, “the cornerstone of Framingham is its people.”
“I would like to see everyone work together for the success of the new city, to put aside differences, and to use their information, their knowledge, their background, to make the city work for every citizen,” Sandra, a Framingham citizen, said.
Some people have been waiting for more than a decade for this community to grow. Residents Peter and Lisa moved to Framingham 14 years ago.
“We’re hoping to see the empty shopping centers that have been vacant for the entire 14 years we’ve lived here, we’d like to see some new business and some new development, and more cultural activities come to the [city] and some redesign in the downtown area,” Lisa said, “because town meetings and the selectmen have been talking about that since we bought our house here 14 years ago, and was one of the reasons we chose to live here, and it hasn’t happened.”
Framingham citizen Irene echoed the same hopes for the downtown Framingham area. She not only seeks a larger sense of community, but more housing for people as well.
“A lot more housing for people who need it and downtown Framingham will be improved, like more community activity and will help bring everyone together, doesn’t matter who you are, you are all welcome.”
“I think a community center is a very good focal point, it’s a unifying place for everybody to come, to voice, to interact, to fellowship. I think that’s one thing that’s wrong with society is, right now, we don’t fellowship enough,” Rosalyn, a former resident of Framingham, said, “ We don’t interact with one another to appreciate one another’s differences and we think that, because you’re different than me, there’s something wrong with that. Embrace that, embrace the cultural difference, learn, experience, do more things.”
Aside from plans to build a sense of unity among a diverse community, Framingham citizens are also excited to have a new form of government. Many people believe the old town meeting system was outdated and ineffective.
“We’re pretty happy that the Town Meeting ship has closed, it was very nice and noble for a small town, but that is completely outdated in 2017, and for a city this size,” Lisa, Framingham resident of 14 years, said, “Now we have a mayor that is paid as her full-time job to run the city instead of a collection of people doing it as a part-time job position, it really is a full-time job.”
Framingham resident John, who grew up in Framingham, echoed Lisa’s thoughts. He hopes this new government system will help with the efficiency of important decisions.
“I’m hoping that things will run more smoothly, decisions made more quickly. And, even though I don’t see myself getting deeply involved in the government, I feel like it is still an opportunity to be more connected to it and more involved,” he said.
The people of Framingham seemed confident in their choice for mayor and optimistic towards the future of the City of Framingham today.
Such was evident through the standing ovation Spicer received following her official swearing in ceremony.
Spicer, in just a few short words, managed to sum up her purpose and promise she will practice as mayor of this city:
“I will be the people’s mayor.”