City Councilor Matt O’Malley was sworn in on Monday, heading into his tenth year as the Dis-trict 6 Councilor—he’s now the longest serving member of the Boston City Council. Throughout his time on the City Council, O’Malley has worked on several issues, many of them environ-mental. He served as Chair of the Environment and Parks Committee, worked to reduce litter in the city, passed an ordinance for the elimination gas leaks in 2016, and worked to ban sin-gle-use plastic bags in Boston.
Now, reelected for another term, O’Malley told the Gazette that he’s ready to tackle issues within the district and beyond. He said he’s also proud to be part of such a historic council.
“I’m excited particularly with this year’s Council,” O’Malley said. “It is the most diverse council we’ve ever had. I think it better represents the vibrancy and diversity of our district and our city better than probably any legislative body across the country.”
O’Malley said he is eager to continue working on environmental issues as “we’ve really helped push Boston as a national leader as it relates to resiliency,” O’Malley said. “Another huge fo-cus for me this term is going toe on traffic congestion, working with our state partners to in-crease funding for the MBTA so we can not only provide better service and more reliable ser-vice, but expanded service as well.”
Constituent services is also high on O’Malley’s list of priorities. He said that last year alone, there were close to 3,000 unique constituent service cases. “So it’s being effective, it’s being available and accessible to people. That’s why we do office hours on the T and in coffee shops.”
Additionally, O’Malley said he’s excited for the Jamaica Pond Pathway project and the re-sources that will be allotted for the Centre St. redesign.
As for the Shattuck Campus, which has been a debate amongst the JP community with some agreeing the addition of housing for formerly homeless people, and others wanting the land to be returned to Franklin Park.
“The Shattuck debate, it’s been somewhat of a sort of conservationist versus affordable housing sort of lens that folks have looked at this and I reject the notion that it’s one or the other,” O’Malley said. “I think it can really be both; we can provide for housing while at the same time really unifying the Emerald Necklace and having sort of a new way that we look at Franklin Park as a preeminent gem in the city.”
O’Malley said that this is “going to be a great state and city joint project but I’m excited for the opportunity to provide housing, particularly for former homeless folks to offer a safe, won-derful, clean place to live. There’s also an opportunity, I think, to showcase some of the great public space that we have there and parkland space that we have there.”
He added that he is “incredibly proud” to have led efforts around the sale of the Winthrop Square garage, which will bring nearly $30 million to Franklin Park. That process has already begun and there will be a commitment to the funding and planning in this year and next year “”so it’s a really exciting time,” he said. “There’s a lot of exciting things happening.”