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Our 2019 – 2021 Mayoral term has been a time of healing for the city of Fall River, and it’s been a time of tremendous challenges too.

On January 6th 2020, I took the oath of office and swore to serve our city in fairness, honesty, and with the best interests of the people of Fall River in mind always. Just two short months later, our entire country, and in fact the world, was changed forever by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Becoming the leader of a city of 90,000 people through a once in a lifetime pandemic did not come with instructions. But with a steady hand, and thoughtful leadership, Fall River weathered the storm, and is now experiencing a robust rebound in all measures.

I am exceptionally proud of the residents, the employees, the business community, the school professionals, and the students of Fall River. Together, we persevered, we buckled down, we found solutions, and we came through some very dark days much stronger. Our future is bright, Fall River.

During the course of my first term as Mayor, we have much to be proud of, and celebrate. From the appointment of our fine Chief of Police, Jeff Cardoza to keeping our children fed while they were out of the classrooms, to enabling, finally, the completion of the City Pier. While implementing vaccine clinics throughout the city, we kept our focus on Economic Development by facilitating the sale of the old Police Station on Bedford Street, and we also secured $1.2 million of CARES ACT funding to assist small and medium sized businesses affected by the Pandemic. We focused on improving streets and sidewalks by redirecting funding from Streetscapes toward this work. We paid attention to our homeless Veterans by renovating a multi-family home on Bradford Street. We flattened city government by eliminating unnecessary boards and commissions, saving taxpayer dollars.

We have worked very hard, in the shadows of the Coronavirus headlines, in all aspects of improving the lives of Fall River citizens.

Below represents a portion of the accomplishments of the Coogan administration:


 

  • Created a program with Bristol Elder Services to deliver food during Covid-19 for the elderly, the disabled and other residents affected by Covid-19

  • Worked with a developer to preserve and rehabilitate the Adams House on Highland Ave

  • Negotiating with SeaStreak for possible pier space in the city

  • Lead the search for and appointed a new Police Chief, Jeff Cardoza,  and expanded professional development for police including de-escalation training and conversational Spanish

  • Coordinated outdoor seating for restaurants at start of Covid-19 and distributed outdoor space heaters to extend their season

  • Rebuilt Aetna Street Park (now dedicated as Paul Poulos Park); drafted plans for the rehabilitation of Desmarais playground, Chew baseball field, Bowenville Green

  • Partnered with Redevelopment Authority to facilitate sale and rehabilitation of the former Bank Street Armory sale

  • Partnered with BayCoast Bank to establish remote bill pay locations at their Fall River branches

  • Strengthened the Department of Health and Human Services by adding another nurse

  • Organized two citywide clean-ups, and one clean up competition with others to follow

  • Combined CARES Act funding and Office of Veterans Services funding to provide $100,000 to the VABC for job training program for veterans

  • Instituted a City vehicle policy for employees

  • Worked with the EPA and Fall River Fire Department to remove hazardous materials from the former Duro Manufacturing facility

  • Organized Drive-in Movies to provide safe family activities during Covid-19

  • Renovated  multifamily unit at 32  Bradford Avenue for veterans housing, with more to follow

  • Re-opened Government Center on June 8th, first in the area to open

  • Created new homeless street outreach program, including outreach worker embedded in the Police Department to help non-offending drug users access treatment

  • Created new joint position in partnership with the Fall River Housing Authority and the Community Development Agency, the Minority Outreach Coordinator, and established Fall River’s first Diversity Committee

  • Re-established 40U hearings to address litter and minimum housing violations

  • Applied for and received a $1 Million grant from the Seaport Advisory Council to fund Phase 2 of the City Pier project

  • Partnered with Liberty Utilities to relocate their operations within the City of Fall River and working to broker a sale of their former location

  • Completed major sidewalk replacement projects at Kennedy and North Parks

  • Working with the City Council, facilitated the sale of the old Police Station on Bedford street

  • Partnered with law enforcement to support safe and peaceful protests in Fall River

  • Established Fall River's first permanent overflow shelter for the homeless on Bay St, and provided additional funding for Steppingstone/First Step Inn

  • Obtained $50,000 for neighborhood policing program

  • Assisted in providing turkeys and meals to Fall River families for Thanksgiving

  • Enlisted UMass Law interns to assist with abandoned properties and other legal issues; re-established partnership with MA Office of the Attorney General to address abandoned properties

  • Moved warming center from Government Center to the First Step Inn to allow greater access to services for our homeless population

  • Fulfilled campaign promise to toured all City facilities 

  • Ensured local nursing homes and public safety had necessary PPE to deal with Covid-19

  • Partnered with the school committee for funding to install 20 surveillance cameras

  • $100,000 allocation for turnout gear for Fire Department

  • Promoted economic development by providing $1.2 million dollars of CARES Act funding to assist small and medium sized businesses with job creation and retention

  • Created Census Task Force to boost Fall River’s response rate to the US Census through media campaigns, community outreach and collaboration with the US Census Bureau

  • Crafted new policies to ensure that contractors and developers are held accountable for work not completed according to their own development plans

  • Coordinated City’s Covid-19 services through daily/weekly calls with healthcare providers, public safety and DPH

  • Reorganized Mayor’s Opioid Task Force under the title of the Fall River Substance Abuse Task Force

  • Eliminated Streetscapes program and transferred funding to street and sidewalk repairs creating a fund of $4 Million

  • Hired former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to do a performance audit of the FRPD

  • Worked alongside Fall River’s state delegation to obtain a $1million grant for the Flint [pending]

  • Provided support to Fall River Board of Elections through unprecedented mail-in and early voting traffic 

  • Supported TIF program to allow for the expansion of Raw Seafood in the Industrial Park and brought in Nantucket Seafood as a tenant

  • In partnership with the Fall River School Department, created a hybrid model to return children to schools; Secured funding for Chromebooks and supported local learning pods to meet childcare demands

  • Created the Coogan Fund to give small grants to local organizations and projects

  • Partnered with Bristol Elder Services to become an AARP Certified Age-Friendly community and sent out a Needs Assessment Survey to inform policy decisions moving forward

  • Secured $5,000 from Millstone Medical to rebuild playground at the Stone School

  • Eliminated unnecessary City boards and combined positions in Government Center to save taxpayer money

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  • Utilized social media to provide Covid-19 updates on daily basis

  • Recently expanded testing options in Fall River by establishing a new test site at the Fire Department Headquarters with help from EMS and Fall River Fire Department

  • Christmas events during Covid-19 (Motorcade and Sons of Serendip Christmas Show)

  • Vaccinations- created FRVAX.com website, supported creation of multilingual hotline, oversaw vaccine rollout including first responder clinics at Bristol Community College

  • Revived the Building Blocks program which has already lead to the demolition of 3 blighted properties; plans for more demolitions and rehabilitations in the works

  • Six free drive-in movie series at Durfee; worked with Fall River Housing Authority to develop 5 movies at FRHA family complexes

  • Worked with Narrows to create Summer Evenings in the Park series at 4 city parks

  • Worked with volunteers and Re-Creation to create first ever City cornhole tournament

  • Worked with Bobby Bailey, Minority Outreach Coordinator, to create a citywide basketball league for youth and adults

  • Supported revival of farmers and artisans market at Old Second Street

  • Moving City online functions to Munis Cloud

  • Hosted the City of Fall River’s first ever ceremonies formally recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month and Asian American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Also updated the City’s LGBTQ+ Pride flag to the more inclusive Progress Pride flag. 

  • Supported Fall River Arts & Culture Coalition’s Winterbridge project at Gromada Plaza, providing free, Covid-19 safe activities in the winter of 2020

  • Provided rebates on liquor licenses to alleviate the burden Covid-19 put on small businesses

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