By Beth Treffeisen
Mayor Martin Walsh greeted residents of the Back Bay during a sunny morning on Thursday, July 20. There residents enjoyed coffee and breakfast treats provided by Dunkin’ Donuts and fresh fruit from Whole Foods Market.
In addition, participants received a flowering plant grown in the city’s greenhouses as a gift. One lucky winner got a chance to win raffle prizes from Dunkin’ Donuts.
“Coffee Hours give me another opportunity to meet with residents, answer their questions and discuss all that the City of Boston has to offer,” said Mayor Walsh. “Our parks provide a great backdrop for conversations.”
In attendance included representatives from various City departments, Boston City Councilors Josh Zakim, Annisa Essaibi-George and Michael Flaherty, State Representative Jay Livingstone, members of My Sisters Keeper, Friends of the Public Garden and the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.
“I want to thank Friends of the Public Garden. You do some incredible work in our City – between the partnership with the Friends and the Park and Recreational Department, along with the investments made in the last few years in our parks system I think we’ve made some real good gains in our City,” said Mayor Walsh at the coffee hour. “I want to thank all of you for caring and being so invested in our parks.”
He continued, “We want to continue to make sure our park space is first class and available to all.”
Mayor Walsh pointed to various investments going towards the neighborhood from this year’s Capital Budget. This includes almost $16 million towards the rare book collection at the Boston Public Library to have the proper ability to store books and have better ventilation and fire protection.
In an effort alongside the State and Federal government, the City has also invested $18 million towards replacing the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge over Commonwealth Avenue, which is currently under construction now.
In addition, $3.5 million is going towards reconstructing the sidewalks and plaza around the Boston Common on Tremont Street, $1.5 million towards redoing the pathways in the Public Garden, a little over $1 million towards the Public Garden Lagoon and $2.2 million towards construction of new sidewalks and streetscape along Boylston Street.
“I live a few blocks away and this does feel like my front yard and I know it does to many of you as well,” said Zakim. “It’s so important that we continue making those investments and continue having that support and continue making this City be an even better place to live in. I thank you all for your activism and coming out here this morning.”
Mayor Walsh also pointed towards the Build BPS program that was launched this year. As part of the program major investments will be going towards new buildings and transforming schools around Boston. Councilor Zakim will be leading a meeting in the upcoming future on how the area could benefit from investing in a public school.
“I know there is a great want and desire to have a school here,” said Mayor Walsh. “As we move forward we’re going to ask what is this neighborhood lacking? I don’t think this neighborhood is lacking a lot but there is a couple things you are lacking and there is one glaring lack.”
Representative Livingstone agrees. He joked saying, “My son Henry turns five in a couple years so the Mayor has some time to get this done but this is long overdue.”
Livingstone said that everyone in this neighborhood has the same goal in making this place a great place to live.
“Everyone wants to make this a great City and make this a great neighborhood,” said Livingstone. “We all come at it with different perspectives and think different things are needed but it is a great open relationship of communication that is already great to see and it results in changes.”