FRAMINGHAM (CBS) — Yvonne Spicer was elected as the first Mayor of the city of Framingham Tuesday.
Spicer was running against John Stefanini.READ MORE: Police Searching Woods In Abington For Missing 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis
The results were announced shortly before 9 p.m. by the Framingham Asst. Town Clerk.
Election Day took on a renewed meaning in Framingham this year.
That’s because residents voted seven months ago to become a city, rather than a town–changing their entire form of local government, effective January 1, 2018.
Turnout was predicted to be as high as 50 percent as Framingham’s citizens vote for their first-ever mayor and city council members.
Spicer, a Vice President at the Museum of Science in Boston, former Framingham teacher, and Town Meeting member, was the top-voted candidate in a seven-person primary; Stefanini, a former state representative, came in second.
Polls opened at 7 a.m., and shortly after that, Spicer turned up to cast her ballot. Spicer told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker she was excited at the history being made.
“Framingham gets to choose today,” Spicer said. “They get to choose their new leader. They get to choose the person that they know will do a good job leading our city. I’m excited to be that person … I feel that this is a great new challenge, something wonderful for Framingham.”
Stefanini said being a city allows decisions to be made in a streamlined, efficient way.
“It doesn’t change our people, our neighborhoods, our institutions that make us great,” he told Parker. “But it changes the way we make decisions, and gives us the ability to make decisions in a more transparent, open, participatory, and efficient way.”READ MORE: 'Plan For Alternatives': Toys May Be In Short Supply This Holiday Season
Spicer said Framingham has done well as a town, but becoming a city allows for some new direction.
“Growing our economic development in the downtown area is critical for moving forward, and also thinking very very carefully about our schools.”
Stefanini said there are some daunting challenges ahead of the new city.
“Four underperforming schools, three vacant shopping plazas, a structural deficit, disappearing open spaces, and a need to revitalize our downtown,” he said, listing the issues–and added he wants to see the town “develop a strategic plan which many communities have and Framingham does not.”
Voters shared their excitement early Tuesday morning.
“It’s a special day for our community,” one voter named Adam said. “It’s a huge transition to a new form of government, and with it brings some hope and some focus on increased participation, and we’re very excited about it.”
Adam said he wasn’t in favor of becoming a city, but says now the goal is all about moving forward.
“I think people have come to the realization we need to focus on the future and do the best for the community,” he said.
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