On Saturday, October 22nd, the drizzle and rain could not dampen the spirits of the hundreds that turned out for the historic ribbon cutting commemorating the opening of Malden’s brand new Police Station. Mayor Gary Christenson and Police Chief Kevin Molis were joined by Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, State Senator Jason Lewis, State Representatives Paul Brodeur and Steve Ultrino, the City Council and members of the Malden School Committee for the momentous occasion.
As part of the redevelopment of Malden’s central commercial district, the completion of the police station ends the first phase of the project to demolish City Hall and the current police station, reopen Pleasant Street to through traffic and construct a new mixed use consisting of retail, residential, and civic development on the current City Hall site. The project was made possible by a MassWorks Grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
The Malden Girls Scouts led the ceremony with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the National Anthem beautifully sung by Mystic Valley Regional Charter School eighth grader Jaime Cochran. Following remarks by Mayor Gary Christenson, Secretary Jay Ash, City Councillors Barbara Murphy and Neil Kinnon, and Police Commissioner Salvatore “Butch” Gennetti the ceremonial ribbon was officially cut. Members of Hill International, Flansburgh Architects, Commodore Builders and the Municipal Building Committee were thanked by the Mayor for their tireless work and for ensuring the project remained on schedule and on budget.
Police Chief Molis offered moving remarks in dedicating the new Police Memorial as he stood with the families of Police Officers lost in the line of duty, Edward Callahan and Allan Ray. The monument stands to honor these Malden officers and all those lost in the line of duty. Funding for the monument was generously provided by the Adelaide Breed Bayrd Foundation and the Brennan Family. Concluding the ceremony was an impressive rendition of God Bless America sung by the Malden Choral Arts Society. Tours to the public and refreshments were offered following the ceremony.
This building marks the third time a Police Station has been built in the City of Malden. The earliest records of a public safety official protecting the lives and property of the inhabitants of Malden can be traced to the year 1651 with the appointment of Richard Adams as the first constable. A system of constables and watchmen was utilized until 1874 when the citizens realized they needed a centrally located police station and a police chief. By June of that year, a chief had been appointed by the selectmen, rules and regulations established and a uniform adopted. Headquarters, including jail cells, were set up in the City Hall on Main Street. In 1883, City government moved the Police Headquarters to a space over Murray and Wiley’s store at the corner of Main and Pleasant Streets, but by November 1891, they were back at City Hall, this time occupying a front door office. Due to increased traffic from the invention of the automobile, along with the necessity of a Liquor Squad in the 1920s, the police outgrew the City Hall space. In 1906, a separate Police Station was constructed at the corner of Middlesex and Exchange Streets and was formally dedicated in 1907. In the 1970s, construction began on a brand new “Civic Center” at 200 Pleasant Street to house City Hall, additional state and federal agencies, and a state-of-the-art Police Station. In 1976 the City Hall Building and Police Station were dedicated with great fanfare. However, in later years, closing off Pleasant Street proved detrimental to traffic flow and businesses gradually vacated the location.
The next phase of the current project to revitalize Malden Square is to demolish the buildings at 200 Pleasant Street, reopen Pleasant Street to through traffic and connect downtown Malden to the Malden Center MBTA Station. Developers Jefferson Apartment Group will then begin developing the site into a thriving mixed-use retail/residential/office development.
“This was an historic day in the City of Malden,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “I thank the City Council, the Legislative Delegation and the State for the tremendous effort to move our City forward.”
Released by the Office of Mayor Gary Christenson
Photos by City of Malden