By John Ruch and Peter Shanley/Gazette Staff
Many Mission Hill leaders, activists and residents are pausing to reflect on Mayor Thomas Menino’s legacy here and in the city.
“Like watching a great ballplayer leaving the field or prizefighter exiting the ring, we’re watching a great mayor leave while he’s still on top,” said Richard Rouse, executive director of Mission Hill Main Streets. “Tom truly loved this great city and has made it even better. Tom Menino cared more about the Parker and Calumet streets than the Beacon and Boylston streets, and that has made all the difference.”
“We love him and wish him the very best,” said Maria Weinograd, co-owner of Mike’s Donuts on Tremont Street.
“I doubt there’s been a mayor in the whole country who’s done more to advance a neighborhood development agenda than Tom Menino has in the past 20 years,” said Richard Thal, executive director of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), which joined the Back of the Hill Community Development Corporation in creating dozens of affordable housing units on the Back of the Hill over the past 15 years. Thal said that project happened in part because Menino was willing to put City resources into it.
Thal recalled Menino’s “mantra” of, “‘This is about people, after all,” and praised him for putting City money into affordable housing development and small business support. Thal said Menino administration officials are “national leaders” in such public health issues as racial disparities in care and violence prevention.