Everett at a glance
Incorporated: 1892 (settled 1630)
Area: 3.6 square miles
Distance from Boston: 5 miles
Population: 38,000
Tax rate: $10.53, residential; $29.02, commercial
Form of government: Mayor, board of alderman and common council (bicameral)
Services: BostonGas, Massachusetts Electric, city water and sewer
Schools: Seven elementary, one junior high school, one high school, one vocational high school; two parochial elementary schools and one parochial high school
Libraries: Public (two branches)
Transportation: MBTA train (Orange line) and bus service
Hospitals: Cambridge Health Alliance (just purchased Whidden Memorial Hospital)
Cultural/recreation: Everett Recreational Center, the Everett Armory center for the elderly), 46 acres of park lands.
Community Profile

Tiny Everett offers location at bargain prices

By Alice Giordano, Globe Correspondent, 6/09/2001

EVERETT - Carmin Mercadante has been rumbled nearly out of his chair by the heavy stream of semitractor-trailers that cut through Everett Square. [an error occurred while processing this directive]

"I can't prove it," said Mercadante, who works in the heart of Everett Square as the executive director of the Everett Chamber of Commerce, "but ever since they upped the tolls at the Mystic River Bridge, we've had much more traffic on Route 99, especially 18-wheelers. It's like thunder when they come to stop out there. It really shakes up the square."

It was four years ago when the Massachusetts Port Authority raised the longtime 50-cent toll on the nearby Tobin Bridge (formerly Mystic River Bridge) to $1. Back then, Everett Square was struggling with other problems, such as the row of vacant storefronts and empty lots that lined Norwood Street, a main artery into town.

Even now, the truck traffic is a main concern among Everett residents.

The construction of a US Post Office and the Norwood Streetscape Improvement plan are expected to shape the boulevard into a trendy venue that will complement Everett Square's growing number of calzone shops, pizza parlors, and cafes.

Everett, often considered blue-collar, is becoming an alternative for home-, multifamily-, and apartment-seekers, with college students leading the way.

Mike Hayes, owner/broker of Century 21 Advanced in Everett, said the new Everett residents are migrating from recently gentrified areas such as Davis Square in Somerville.

"From a student point of view, you can get a lot more space in Everett than you can in Cambridge, and you still have transportation into Boston," he said. "It might take a few more minutes, but that's not much of a trade-off considering the price differences in rent."

For its location, Everett, surrounded by Melrose, Malden, Chelsea, and Saugus, is definitely a bargain. It's about five miles north of Boston and located on both the MBTA's Orange Line and the bus line. According to Hayes, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $800, almost half the price of traditional student-populated private housing, such as in Somerville. The savings is similar for alternative-seeking home buyers. The average cost of a single-family home in Everett is $200,000, which represents a 16 percent increase over last year's price, Hayes said.

Some really good buys can be found. An adorable, three-bedroom New Englander on Staples Avenues, for example, is listed for sale at $184,000 with Century 21.

But those moving to Everett had better like company: The town is the state's most densely populated community. There are 38,000 residents squeezed into the 3.6-square-mile town (11,000 people per square mile).

Everett also is the only community in the nation that has a bicameral form of government, with 23 politicians making decisions, Mercadante said.

Everett also might be dubbed a world capital of hair salons, with more than 60 in the town. It has just as many treasures, including two beautiful libraries. And three local newspapers create a rivalry that residents say produces some pretty good news.

"I read one to find out all the bad things going on," said Everett resident Nancy Jackson, who moved here six years ago from Chelsea. "Another for all the good things, and the other for some gossip."

Everett is also known for its football. The high school team has won the state championship four years in a row, and is the alma mater of its share of football legends, including former New York Giants player Pat Hughes.

Barbara Barber, who has lived in Everett for 55 years, said the town has a good school system, noting that each year, students go on to attend such prestigious post-secondary schools as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts and Boston universities, and Harvard.

For the most part, residents say they don't have much to complain about in Everett. Some grumble, however, about the ethnic change in Everett's longtime Italian-Irish population.

Brazilians account for the latest influx. Mercadante said they mostly move from the Brighton and Allston areas, which like Somerville are pricing out some of their traditional residents. With the Brazilians has come a great melting pot of cuisine, including the lunch spot Brasil On Ferry.

Now, with the Chelsea spur closed to trucks, it's traffic that's back on the minds of Everett citizens.

"Now more than ever, Everett's got a legitimate request," said Mercadante. "It's time for the state to put a weigh station on Route 99 to prevent trucks from barreling through town to circumvent the tolls."

This story ran in the Boston Globe on 6/09/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company
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