Warwick, RI – Mayor Scott Avedisian promised municipal-school partnerships to upgrade Pilgrim High fields and provide chromebooks for next year’s students during Tuesday’s inaugural address at Ocean State Theatre.
Avedisian, the School Committee and the City Council, including newly elected member Kathleen Usler, were all sworn in at the inauguration, the first held at the theater and the first held outside City Hall in several years.
Councillors elected Donna Travis as council president, with seven voting for, Councillor Steve Merrolla abstaining and Councilman Joseph Solomon, attending the swearing in of his son, Joseph Solomon Jr., newly elected Dist. 22 rep, at the State House.
Councilman Solomon missed the vote, but Avedisian swore him in at the end of the inauguration ceremonies, explaining the reason for his late arrival, eliciting appreciative applause.
Councilman Joseph Gallucci was elected Council President Pro-tem.
“Let’s make no mistake,” said Travis during her acceptance speech, “The work of government is not easy,” and will require all nine members working together in 2015, she said.
Travis and Avedisian don’t always see eye to eye, Travis said, but their disagreements are always respectful ones, that allow them to work together. That respectful working relationship, she said, should be a model for city officials to follow in 2015.
Avedisian touted the city’s many successes during the year, pointing to the Steamship Authority moving its headquarters to the city, the state’s first CarMax dealership, the start of the $29 million Apponaug Circulator Project, the start of Condor Air service from Warwick to Frankfurt, Germany, the re-opening of Rocky Point Park as a state park.
“Without question, it has been a banner year for this community,” Avedisian said.
Now, building on those successes, many of which hold promise of the end of the recession, it’s time to renew investment in roads, police and fire capital spending, and in schools.
Avedisian said it’s his goal to make sure all Warwick students graduate from school ready to work.
“That is why all students entering high school next year will have chrome books,” Avedisian said, “So let’s close the chapter on the use of outdated textbooks,” Avedisian said, and use those line items to pay for the chromebooks for students next fall.
Also, Avedisian said, the city and school department will partner to improve Pilgrim High School’s athletic fields.
Moving the city through 2015 will require teamwork, Avedisian said.
“One challenge that faces us is to tap the energy and connectivity that is in this room,” Avedisian said. “Tonight, please join me as we take stock of our many blessings.”
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this report mis-identified Councilman Steve Merolla.