On a bright winter day in 2002, outgoing state Rep. Kevin Fitzgerald took a Gazette reporter on a tour of Mission Hill to point out some of his accomplishments.
A cop wouldn’t let Fitz drive into the construction site for the new Puddingstone Park. So the rep. and the reporter sat in the muddy driveway while Fitz talked about scoring the major success that is One Brigham Circle.
Today, Fitzgerald is gone, taken by cancer too young five years later. Puddingstone Park is now renamed in his honor. And that reporter is now editor of this paper.
Fitz was hard to forget, but it’s still great to see him remembered. The Tobin gym, where Fitz coached generations of kids, was named for him last month.
A name on a sign doesn’t tell you how Fitz was born in Mission Hill, then devoted 28 years in office to serving it at a time when every other politician was writing it off as a ghetto. His fingerprints are everywhere in the modern neighborhood, from Mission Park to the Mission Hill/Fenway Neighborhood Trust.
Fitzgerald was replaced as state rep. by Jeffrey Sánchez, who Fitz saw grow up in Mission Church. Like Fitz, Sánchez has not forgotten where he came from and has brought major resources to the neighborhood.
We are fortunate that Fitzgerald is remembered not only in name, but also in his legacy of improving Mission Hill.