The City of Quincy, its people, and its future are the life-long passion of Tom Koch. Leading the community he loves as its Mayor is the only job he ever wanted, and it shows. Under his leadership, Quincy thrives in virtually every aspect of civic life. From schools to public safety, to economic development and the environment, to its historical heritage and its open spaces, Quincy, as Boston Magazine declared, is a “A City On The Move.”
Mayor Koch understands that few things are more important to a community’s future than its young people and the education it provides them. That’s why he’s made an unprecedented investment in the Quincy Public Schools, increasing classroom spending by more than 40 percent. That’s led to average class sizes among the smallest in Greater Boston; a 93 percent graduation rate that’s well above the state average; and graduates who move on to four-year colleges at a rate of more than 80 percent. That’s a remarkable achievement for one of the most culturally and economically diverse school systems in all of Massachusetts, and one reason why state education leaders selected Quincy as a model for other school districts.
The commitment to the classroom is matched by a historic renewal of the City’s school facilities that includes three new schools opened in the last 10 years; a new special education center to begin construction in 2021, major investments to preserve older school buildings, and state-of-the art new athletic and playing facilities for our young athletes. Mayor Koch has leveraged working relationships with state leaders to secure more than $200 million in grant funding, totaling more than 70 percent of constructions costs for major projects.
Crime rates in Quincy are at historic lows in virtually every category and emergency response times are among the fastest anywhere in the region. Mayor Koch knows that a community’s safety is directly tied to its quality of life, he has made providing our first responders the tools they need a major priority of his time in office. He reformed the City’s emergency medical response contract to include additional life-saving ambulance service to residents and reducing response times citywide. Additional manpower dedicated to the Quincy Fire Department means every neighborhood can rely on a fast, professional response — resources that in a short period of time have saved lives and protected property. The Quincy Police Department stands at the forefront of community engagement, earning White House recognition for a compassionate response to the scourge of addiction. The department was the very first to equip every patrol officer with overdose-reversing medication, a policy that has saved hundreds of lives over the years.
Parks and Open Spaces
As both Mayor since 2008 and Park Director for 12 years prior to that, the City has never had a more passionate steward of its parks and open spaces than Tom Koch. The City has undergone a renaissance of its park system through those years, much of it without costing a dime to local taxpayers thanks to a hotel and motel room tax paid for by visitors to the City.
The roster of work is truly extraordinary: The City’s first regulation track and field facility; the City’s first dog park; the first state-of-the art playing for North Quincy High School at Creedon Field; a once-in-a-generation investment in Kincaide Park, creating new playing fields, a walking path, and a splash pad; a fully renovated Welcome Young Park; the creation of dozens of acres of new open space and walking trails at Broad Meadows and Faxon Park; the protection of open space next door to the Adams National Historic Park, a sweeping reconstruction program at more than 20 playgrounds across the City, all financed through the Community Preservation Act; the completion of the Adams Walk at Upper Merrymount Park; a permanent World War I Memorial in a formerly blighted property at the corner of Furnace Brook Parkway and Hancock Street; a world-class park in the heart of downtown in the Hancock-Adams Common — all financed through state grants and the hotel room tax; and renovations at Veterans Memorial Stadium paid for by a partnership with the Boston Cannons professional lacrosse team.
Infrastructure and Sustainability
With a clear-eyed understanding of Quincy’s aging infrastructure, Mayor Koch embarked on a sweeping program to restore and protect the City’s vital public assets — all with a focus on protecting the City’s environment and securing a sustainable future.
New, higher seawalls and improved drainage systems now protect much of Quincy’s coastline; flood-prone neighborhoods in West and South Quincy are better protected thanks to major capital projects; and systematic improvements to drainage systems across the City have dramatically reduced the threat of major flooding.
An extensive program to replace and repair aging water and sewer lines curtails pollution and cuts costs for homeowners, and a methodical road and infrastructure plan fully reconstructed nearly 100 roads in less than 3 years — a vast majority of those projects including new water, sewer or gas lines.
The City is a state-certified Green Community, taking dramatic steps to improve energy efficiency in its building and transforming transportation systems across the City to better accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers. The City has created the foundation for the burgeoning technology of electric vehicles and todays saves hundreds of thousands of dollars in electricity thanks to the conversion of its street-lights to LED technology.
Few cities in America can lay claim to the rich historic heritage of Quincy, and few people have done more to protect that legacy than Mayor Koch. By leveraging outside funding sources, Mayor Koch developed a systematic program of restoring and preserving many of the City’s historic assets, including Old Town Hall, the Coddington Building, the Abigail Adams Cairn, the grounds of the Adams Academy and the Quincy Historical Society.
For 40 years, Quincy Center was in a state of decline following the exodus of businesses caused brought on by the advent of the shopping mall, specifically the South Shore Plaza. Mayor Koch took ownership of the downtown’s future immediately upon taking office. The progress to date has been nothing short of extraordinary, as a thriving neighborhood for people to live, work and play has taken shape over the last several years. As a result, the City is undergoing its most sustained period of growth in a generation.
The results to date include more than 500 new housing units, more than a dozen new restaurants and businesses; acres of new public and civic spaces; tens of thousands of square feet in new medical and commercial office space; and a neighborhood that is once again the heart of the community.
Outside of downtown, development targeting the City’s transportation hubs such as the City’s four MBTA Red Line stops and depressed former industrial areas has generated more than 5,000 new housing units citywide.
The City maintains its strongest, most stable financial standing in recent history following a series of reforms enacted by Mayor Koch amid the Great Recession. By creating savings, budgeting conservatively, and fixing long-standing deficiencies, the City now holds the second-highest bond rating from Wall Street possible for any community.
Annual spending increases averaging 4 percent stand well below the state average of over 5 percent; the City maintains one of the lowest overall debt burdens for cities in Massachusetts; and leaves more potential property tax revenue in the hands of homeowners than all but 3 other communities in the state.
In 2021, the average single-family home bill in Quincy is $100 less than the statewide average even though the average single-family in Quincy is more than $50,000 higher than the state average.