Thomas M. and Angela Menino
Mayor and First Lady, City of Boston
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and his wife, Angela, are both lifelong Boston residents who know how important parks are to cities and to the people who live in them. Their core values include a commitment to neighborhoods and to their residents, and they have worked as a team for the past 20 years to expand, improve, and “green” public open space in the city they love.
Last May, The Trust for Public Land ranked Boston’s park system as the third best in the country among 40 cities, tying New York with a score of 72.5, and just behind San Francisco at 74, and Sacramento at 73.5. The national organization gave high marks to Boston for across-the-board access to parks along with per capita spending and number of city playgrounds.
While this ranking is impressive, it does not begin to scratch the surface of achievements in city parks during the Mayor’s tenure in office including his appointment in 1996 of Justine Mee Liff as Parks Commissioner. As he would be the first to tell you, Angela Menino, his partner of 46 years, has provided a clear vision of what needed to be done to make Boston’s parks clean and safe and beautiful for all. Both Meninos were close to Justine for whom this award is named. So what more fitting tribute than to honor them both at the 10th anniversary celebration of Party in the Park.
In addition to major projects such the transformation of a former landfill to Millennium Park in West Roxbury to the development of the four-season facility at the Frog Pond on Boston Common to the construction of the new club house at the Devine Golf Course in Franklin Park, the Meninos have encouraged the creation of more than 150 year-round free programs in parks, including concerts, movies, festivals, and nature activities. Not surprisingly, the couple, who met on a public tennis court in Roslindale, have also spurred capital improvements to the city’s playgrounds and athletic fields.
Under the Meninos’ watch, the city established partnerships to increase Boston’s tree canopy by planting 100,000 new trees by 2030 and established Boston Bikes, a program to ensure that Boston becomes a first class city for bicycling. Is it any wonder they have solar panels on the roof of their family home in Hyde Park? Their leadership has been truly inspirational and sets a high bar for the next generation of parks supporters and environmentalists.