It isn’t just the Year 2009 coming to an end.
The decade is finished – a new decade is nearly upon us.
The first decade of the New Millennium in political terms was the Jay Ash decade. As one decade ends and another comes to life, it is remains the Jay Ash decade. Ash’s imprint on the modern history of the city has been substantial, and in many ways, he has helped the city to do what it does best – which is to welcome people from every walk of life to out city and to keep the city a place where every man woman and child has a chance to express themselves, to grow and to live in peace.
This city isn’t perfect but it has become during the past decade the example by which others would want similar places to be.
The schools have never been more able to leave a mark on Chelsea’s struggling children – and they do. The test scores have improved over the course of the decade but can never be where we want them to be because Chelsea is the portal for so many people who do not speak English as a first language.
The city has changed dramatically during the past ten years. Even to those who came here at the beginning of the decade, the place is entirely changed and somewhat unrecognizable even to relative newcomers.
As the old-timers die and the newcomers swell the ever changing demographic, the city remakes itself.
Although poverty, ignorance and crime wreak havoc on the city’s people, this remained a place during the past decade where people lived among one another without the rampant slaughter and crime so visible in some of Boston’s neighborhoods.
This was the decade of many new businesses coming here and operating here, adding thousands of new jobs to the local economy and securing the city’s tax base. It was the era of growth for Kayem, for Demoulas Marketplace, for real estate companies who built hundreds of new units here and for businesses along the waterfront and along the length of Eastern Avenue.
Local real estate became more valuable than ever before – and then came the recession and the cruelty of repossession and bankruptcy among so many of the city’s struggling homeowners. The future remains bright, a good sign for the decade to come.
Tolerance and humanism, taking care of all kinds all the time became the city’s hallmark during the past decade. Never before has so much local energy come to exist to aid those who need help in their lives.
With the new decade upon us, Chelsea remains vibrant and alive, friendly and open, relatively safe and changing almost daily.