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    Framingham mayor sets goals for city

    Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer has pledged to be transparent and accessible as she leads the community through its first year as a city.

    In her first State of the City address, held at Nevins Hall in the Memorial Building on Monday, Spicer said a smooth transition from a town form of government is her top priority.

    Spicer, along with a new City Council and School Committee, took office Jan. 1.

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    Spicer said she has spent her first 36 days building relationships with employees, residents, business leaders, elected officials, and fellow mayors. And she said she will continue to make herself available.

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    “During our first year as a city, it is essential that Framingham residents have frequent opportunities to meet and discuss issues with me,’’ Spicer said.

    She said she will host a series of “conversations’’ on different topics, the first of which will focus on economic development.

    “I look forward to these discussions as they will inform and guide my decision-making but more importantly you will have access to me to ask questions to air your concerns and be able to voice your opinions on what we are doing as we move forward,’’ Spicer said.

    Spicer spoke for about 30 minutes, spending much of her time recapping recent government accomplishments or initiatives.

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    Among the city’s achievements she highlighted were:

     A joint initiative, between the Framingham Public Schools and the Framingham Public Health Department that focuses on stress and other mental health concerns of adolescents;

     An 8 percent reduction in violent crime during 2017;

     The Inspectional Services Division’s code enforcement team’s effort to remove blight in neighborhoods and to establish a database of vacant commercial buildings;

     The Community and Economic Development Division’s joint venture with the town of Natick to draft a plan for the redevelopment of the “Golden Triangle” — the Route 30/Route 9/Speen Street area.

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    Spicer said other immediate priorities include the budget process, the hiring of a citizen participation officer, and addressing quality-of-life issues such as traffic.

    She said she will also continue to build relationships to help strengthen the community.

    “Governing is not easy, but it is made possible when we all come to the table in good faith and in good spirit and hard work,’’ she said. “When we take part in discussions, our people, their needs, and our city as a whole, must always be our first priority. We may disagree about some things, but we must all agree about our path to progress. As I did on this very stage, in this very hall, only 36 days ago, I pledge to keep the residents of Framingham as my first priority and I will.’’

    Jennifer Fenn Lefferts can be reached at jflefferts@yahoo.com.