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Brookline considering a 'Dukakis Plaza' at Town Hall

Posted by Brock Parker  July 10, 2012 10:21 AM

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Brookline officials are considering renaming the plaza in front of Town Hall after former Massachusetts Governor and Democratic nominee for President Michael Dukakis and his wife Kitty Dukakis.

The proposal is one of several ideas backed by a committee charged with exploring ways to honor the public service of the former governor and his wife, who each grew up and still live in Brookline.

On Monday a specially formed Dukakis Recognition Committee voted to recommend to the Board of Selectmen the naming of the plaza outside of Town Hall after the couple, as well as establishing two internships in honor of the Dukakis family.

Selectwoman Jesse Mermell, who has chaired the special committee, said the idea for the Dukakis plaza in front of Town Hall could still be substituted with another proposal if the couple objects to the idea.

The Dukakis plaza would also need approval of the town’s Naming Committee and would go before Selectmen by late summer or early fall before going to Town Meeting for approval in the fall.

In the spring of 2011, Town Meeting voted in support of a resolution asking selectmen to appoint a special committee to explore ways to honor the Dukakis family with a monument or dedication.

Town Meeting member Brian Kane proposed the resolution, which cited Michael Dukakis’s stint as a state representative for Brookline from 1962 to 1970, his three terms as governor from 1975 to 1979 and 1983 to 1991, and his 1988 presidential nomination.

The resolution also cites the service of Kitty Dukakis, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, was a founding member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and worked for several other human rights causes.

The Dukakis Recognition Committee will recommend two paid internships named for the family to encourage public service. A $500 stipend would be paid to each of the interns, who would work in the town’s parks and recreation and public health departments. The recommendation will suggest the town fund the internships for the first five years, and efforts will also be made to raise funds for the internships in the future.

The committee is also recommending a book award in which the Dukakis family recommends a book that inspired them and then signs a number of copies of the book. Each year one of the autographed copies would be awarded to a rising senior at Brookline High School.

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