Charlestown, like every other neighborhood in Boston, mourned the loss of Mayor Thomas Menino this week.
In his 20 years as Mayor of Boston, Menino, the self proclaimed Urban Mechanic, worked to improve areas of Charlestown and helped transform the neighborhood to what it today.
Menino’s efforts can be seen in the redevelopment of City Square, parks, development projects like the Spaulding Rehab, the ongoing revitalization of the Navy Yard. Anywhere you look, you can see Menino’s fingerprints all over the neighborhood.
“He was a champion of neighborhoods, he wasn’t a ‘downtown’ mayor,” said City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “If you look at the Navy Yard, the Spaulding Rehab, City Square, the improvement to parks and city buildings here, to Mayor Menino the neighborhoods and their people were Boston, not the skyline.”
Throughout his tenure as mayor, Menino was a regular fixture here, attending ribbon cuttings, improving parks, marching in the annual Bunker Hill Day Parade and frequenting restaurants.
“Mayor Menino was a political giant,” said Charlestown Rep. Dan Ryan. “He reached the height of his profession and practiced it on a world stage. Yet, he was eulogised in the church and neighborhood he was baptized and lived all his life in. There is something so Boston about that, it is a beautiful statement. I thank Angela and the entire Menino family for sharing their husband, father and grandfather with us. Their sacrifice and dedication to Boston over the years is as commendable as was Mayor Menino’s”.
During his last illness before deciding not to run for another term as mayor, Menino spent months recovering at the Spaulding Rehab here.
“All of us are saddened by the news of Mayor Menino’s death,” said Spaulding President David E. Storto. “We send our heartfelt and deepest condolences to his wonderful wife Angela and their entire Menino family. To the Spaulding and Partners HealthCare at Home (PHH) community he was many things; a patient, a leader, advocate and most importantly a friend.”
Storto said Menino’s accomplishments for the city of Boston are far too vast to list.
“His lifelong compassion for others and commitment to equality included advocating for the community of people with disabilities,” he said. “Well before he would ever need any of our care himself he fought to ensure that Spaulding would thrive as one of Boston’s premiere health care institutions and that all patients who left our hospital would enter a city full of access and opportunity.”
“Of the many moments that I cherish with Mayor Menino, none can compare to his leadership and counsel during the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013. Spaulding was preparing to move to the long planned state-of-the-art hospital in the Charlestown Navy Yard when the crisis occurred. Like many immediately after the Bombing, we were evaluating the road ahead. I talked often to the Mayor in the days that followed and his focus and leadership was clear, the move to the new Spaulding must move ahead and be celebrated as planned. Like many other times, he was proven correct as the opening and celebration of the new Spaulding was a momentous and defining moment in our history. As always he was present, he was with us at our gala celebration and with us on opening day to thank staff and welcome patients, many of whom were survivors of the Marathon bombings. The poignancy of a new Spaulding was only magnified in the following months as we had the honor of playing a central role in the healing of some of the most severely injured,” said Storto.
Storto also pointed to Menino Park next to the Spaulding Rehab as a fitting tribute to the late great mayor.
“Menino Park is Boston’s first fully inclusive playground and park allowing children of all abilities to engage in recreation and have fun together,” said Storto. “The park was the vision of Mayor Menino and is one of the most wonderful gifts he could give to Spaulding and the entire local Charlestown community and more broadly for the region. Each day everyone at Spaulding can look out and see this beautiful addition to the community with our patients and their families, our visitors and throngs of others from the community engage in play to discover what is truly possible for them, all with a stunning view of the city he helped shape.”