WATERFRONT — The stunning new Martin’s Park, a universally accessible playground located along the Fort Point Channel, was packed with well-wishers and children anxious to try out the amazing new features at a ceremony on spectacular (weather-wise) Saturday.
Martin Richard was eight years old at the time of the 2013 Boston Marathon. As the park was being planned, Bill Richard, Martin’s dad, said he did not want the park to be a memorial. Instead, he pictured a fun, “loud and boisterous” park for families to enjoy. With the playground that officially opened on June 15, 2019, that goal was accomplished.
“For us, Martin’s Park is a symbol of the commitment of so many individuals and their dedication to building a more kind, just, and inclusive community here in the city that we love,” Bill Richard said on Saturday.
The park has been two years in the making and is located adjacent to the Boston Children’s Museum on the Smith Family Waterfront in the Seaport District. The park named for the young Dorchester resident was created by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department as an inclusive park and play space “that is the first of its kind in the heart of our city,” according to the official announcement. Its location and design are bound to provide enjoyment to generations of Boston’s children, families and visitors.
Growing up in Dorchester, Martin spent much of his time playing with Henry, Jane and their friends at many of the fields and playgrounds throughout the city. Henry and Jane along with their parents Bill and Denise Richard hosted the park opening. Jane sang “A Million Dreams,” from the film “The Greatest Showman,” as a flag was raised to mark the grand opening of the park. Jane also sang with her brother Henry’s rock band, FooL, in a performance of Coldplay’s “Yellow” and other songs.
Among those at the park for the opening were Governor Charlie Baker and his wife, Lauren, Mayor Marty Walsh and his girlfriend, Lorrie Higgins, philanthropist Richard Smith, whose family foundation made a $3 million donation to make the playground possible. Boston Parks Commissioner and Chief of the city’s open space Christopher Cook served as the day’s emcee with special blessing by Father John Unni, assistant chaplain of the Boston Fire Department, and Father John Connolly and Father Sean Connor, who both serve as chaplains for the Boston Police Department.
At the opening ceremony, Mayor Marty Walsh said the park “wraps up what our values are in the city of Boston and it’s amazing.”
Helping in the celebration were Boston Fire Commissioner Joe Finn, Boston Children’s Museum President and CEO Carole Charnow, state Senator Nick Collins, state Representative Dan Cullinane, and several Boston city councilors including Annissa Essaibi George, Matt O’Malley, Ed Flynn, and Frank Baker. Also on hand were the young participants of Project 351, the project’s founder Carolyn Casey and Charlie Rose, developer Jon Cronin, College Hype’s Jack Doherty, and Plymouth County Court Acting Clerk Magistrate Bill Farrell.
All photos by Bill Brett