Community Leaders Remember Menino

Beacon Hill community leaders are fondly remembering Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as an outstanding person and a great friend to the neighborhood during his two-decade tenure as the city’s chief executive.

Mr. Menino, the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, died on Oct. 30, 2014. He was 71.

MaryLee Halpern, executive director of the Beacon Hill Civic Association, said, “We were saddened by the mayor’s passing. He was a wonderful man who gave so much of himself to the city of Boston and he will be greatly missed by those of us on Beacon Hill as well as people throughout the rest of the city.”

Rob Whitney, a long-time Beacon Hill Civic Association board member and founding member of the Friends of the Phillips Street Play Area, said that Mr. Menino “was always a strong advocate on behalf of all the neighborhoods, particularly for neighborhood green spaces.”

“He was particularly helpful with the renovation and rehabilitation of the Phillips Street Play Area. He was always in favor of expanding public green space and play areas for kids on Beacon Hill and throughout the city.”

Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of the Friends of the Public Garden, also praised the mayor and his administration’s work on parks, community gardens, and recreational areas.

“We’ve lost an incredible champion for green space in Boston,” said Vizza. “This mayor was a supporter of our parks, our community gardens, and our floral displays along the streets. He was a great champion for the work of green space and how important it is to the lives of every neighborhood in Boston.

Vizza said the mayor often attended Friends of the Public Garden events.

“The mayor came to our events. He was there for our grand opening of the Brewer Fountain Plaza area in 2012. He was front and center for that celebration. The primary mover of the fountain restoration was the city and the parks department. We worked with the mayor in expanding the renovation to include the entire plaza and to activate it so the Friends worked very closely in partnership with the parks department on that major transformation of the south corner of the Common.”

Vizza recalled that Mr. Menino participated in the ribbon cutting for the fountain and the grand-opening celebration for the plaza in May, 2012. She said his support of the organization will be missed.

“This is a sad time for Boston,” said Vizza. “We were looking forward to Mr. Menino being an active and effective post-mayor. He had a lot of love for not only the city but for how cities can work when they work well together. We in the green space were looking forward to having his voice for years to come so it’s a very sad time.”

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim praised Mr. Menino’s leadership of the city and his dedicated service to all residents.

“Mayor Menino was a giant in our city and an inspiration to all,” said Zakim. “His leadership in fighting for equality for all Bostonians demonstrated his dedication to every resident and neighborhood across the city. His love and commitment to Boston extended even beyond his time in public office, and his legacy is one that will not be forgotten.”

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