It’s official! The Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) has become a City of Malden department now known as the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD).
In a recent ceremony, the various parties to the “Management and Consolidation Agreement” between the City of Malden and the MRA gathered in the Mayor’s office to witness the signing of the legal documents. Signers included Mayor Gary Christenson, Council President Neal Anderson and MRA Board Chair Robert Rotondi. Others attending the signing ceremony were: MRA Board Members Albert Spadafora, Sharon Santillo and Robert Foley (Member Mike Williams was absent) and MRA Executive Director Deborah Burke, who will direct the newly created OSPCD.
Mayor Christenson noted: “This is a bold new way of thinking about the future. With a strengthened operational structure that is viable long term, the OSPCD will provide a single unified approach to planning and community development for the benefit of all Malden residents and the City.”
The consolidation is the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of weekly meetings with MRA Director Burke and Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Ron Hogan. The newly created OSPCD integrates the former MRA staff into a new City department focused on land use and transportation planning, community and business development, climate resiliency, affordable housing, and grants management. The plan was fully supported by Mayor Christenson and approved on a unanimous vote of the Malden City Council.
“Since its creation in 1958 by an act of the State Legislature, the MRA has done some great work for the City and its residents. Under this forward-thinking new plan, the agency will not only be able to continue that work but also expand its role in making an impact on the quality of life for all residents,” MRA Board Chair Rotondi said.
The OSPCD administers projects to promote homeownership including the Housing Rehabilitation and Lead Paint Abatement Programs, an emergency rental assistance program and a Small Business Assistance Program. The department also administers the federal Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs, manages numerous other state and local grant programs and provides assistance to the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board.
(Back row, standing, from left) MRA Board Chair Robert Foley, OSPCD Executive Director Deborah Burke, MRA Board members Sharon Santillo and Albert Spadafora. (Seated) MRA Board Member Robert Rotondi, City Council President Neal Anderson, Mayor Gary Christenson.