AMESBURY — In 2013, Amesbury residents said they wanted change, and this year they’re going to get a lot of it.
Amesbury’s new leaders will be sworn into office this month, and for the first time since 2005 somebody other than Thatcher Kezer will take the oath as mayor. How these new leaders will operate, how they will coexist, and what their priorities will be are just some of the questions residents have going into 2014.
There will also be a number of major projects going forward this year, including the reconstruction of Route 150 and the continued progress on the Whittier Bridge, but here are three of the big stories to keep an eye on this year in Amesbury:
The big question on everyone’s mind is what kind of mayor will Ken Gray be? A virtual unknown before he stepped forward to challenge Kezer last spring, Gray’s victory over the four-term incumbent was one of the biggest stories of 2013.
Gray campaigned on a promise of bringing fiscal responsibility and a businessman’s mindset to the city’s top elected office. He said that improving the city’s property values and the quality of its school system would be among his top priorities, but at this point nobody is quite sure what kind of approach he will take to accomplish these goals once he officially takes office.
After eight years, most people in town had grown accustomed to Kezer’s leadership, so one of the early stories of 2014 will be how people adjust to the new sheriff in town.
The new City Council
Joining Gray in City Hall is a new City Council that includes a number of new faces along with a handful of returning ones.
Paul Sickorez and Dave Moavenzadeh both join the council as first-time members, while Jonathan Sherwood is returning to his old post after a four-year absence. Bob Lavoie, Joseph McMilleon, Anne Ferguson and James Kelcouse all return to the council in their current roles, while Donna McClure returns as councilor at-large.