(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
Once a lonely grass field with a rusty fence, the Cronin/Wainwright Park in Dorchester has been refurbished and renamed and on Monday was the site of Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s annual neighborhood "Coffee Hour".
Through the investment and dedication of the community and the city of Boston, the park, renamed the Dr. Loesch Family Park, is now a centerpiece for the neighborhood with a playground, basketball courts, and ball field. It will officially re-open in July.
Neighbors gathered at the space Monday, taking in the new park and all the improvements.
"It’s like night and day,” said Michael Folan, the vice president of the St. Marks Area Neighborhood Association. “There’s a lot of community and city work that goes into something like this. Things like this just don’t happen.”
The new park will officially open July 7 with a ceremony honoring Dr. Rev. Bill Loesch, a social activist in the area and longtime advocate for the park.
At a January hearing before Boston’s Parks and Recreation Department neighbors and family members explained the impact Loesch has made on the neighborhood and what a fitting tribute the renaming of the park would be.
To read more about the hearing before the Parks Department, click here.
Monday’s coffee hour, which highlighted the park, was also a way for residents to come out and talk with the mayor about the importance of green space to their community.
“This park use to be a place I didn’t want to come to,” said Rahshawn Beaman, who was at the coffee hour with his six-year-old son Rahshawn Jr. “I have a lot of energetic children and a place like this will help tire them out. We are always looking for a park that’s close to home and we now have one right around the corner.”
Mayor Menino discussed the park's improvements Monday while enjoying the morning sun and said places like the Dr. Loesch Family Park are what keeps communities strong.
“Parks are vital, it’s gives people a place where they can come together,” said Menino. “If this park was run down people wouldn’t feel good about their neighborhood.”
Menino also highlighted the city’s five-year $1.8 billion Capital Plan that includes 336 city-wide projects including renovations to playing courts at Harambee Park and Savin Hill Park.
To read more about renovations to Dorchester parks, click here.