For Immediate Release
January 10, 2007
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Speech emphasized the future of Boston's neighborhoods
Mayor Thomas M. Menino gave his 10th State of the City address Tuesday night at the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner, Dorchester. It was the first time in a decade the speech has been made outside of a Downtown location. Focusing on his renewed Cabinet, improvements to key structures and achievements throughout the city, Mayor Menino emphasized the importance our residents and neighborhoods play in Boston's future.
"What many people may not know is the story of Boston's strong neighborhoods. I travel this city from end to end, and everyday I am so filled with faith in the future of this city, so energized by the people I meet," Mayor Menino said.
Mayor Menino chose to make the speech at the Strand Theatre to bring the event back to the neighborhoods. The last few years, the event has been held at Emerson's Majestic Theatre and the John Hancock Hall. Last year was an election year and Mayor Menino's inaugural address was held at Fanueil Hall.
The major announcement of the night came when Mayor Menino promised to save the Strand Theatre. Four million dollars have already been set aside in the FY'07 Capital Budget for the Strand, and another $2 million will be requested in FY'08. Work to the theatre, beginning next week, includes mechanical, electrical and plumbing upgrades. Additional safety upgrades, a new stage fly gallery and box office and dressing room enhancements are also planned. The theater will reopen next fall, the result of a public/ private partnership.
"When I was growing up, there were beautiful theaters like this one all over our city. Today, the Strand is the last of its kind. We must be a city that values its cultural assets, that preserves them as pillars of city life. This building speaks to Boston's history, to the generations whose struggles and triumphs have shaped our city," he said.
This past year, Mayor Menino completed his Cabinet with eight new people. His enthusiasm for Boston was clear as he chose several of these new staff from outside the city. He spoke about the theme of shared responsibility between residents and the city as he mentioned his new Cabinet.
"Now more than ever, I am excited to bring together the best of Boston, so we can capture every ounce of possibility and promise that I see in our great neighborhoods," Mayor Menino said.
One of those new Cabinet members is Police Commissioner Ed Davis, formerly of Lowell. Public safety has always been a top priority for Mayor Menino. And to give the new commissioner as much manpower as possible, Mayor Menino announced an additional 190 police officers on the street this fiscal year. He also said command staff would begin spending more hours in the districts, opening lines of communication between residents and officers. An Advisory Council will also be created in each district to help with that communication.
"Our strategy is to increase law enforcement's visibility where crime is on the rise, reassuring residents that we are here to help, and reminding offenders that we are watching them. At the same time, we are emphasizing prevention and adding resources to the programs that help young people steer clear of gangs and drugs," Mayor Menino said.
This year, Boston Police officers took 1,800 guns off the streets, twice as many as last year. Mayor Menino announced that he would meet with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi later this month to discuss his work with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, that he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City began last year.
Mayor Menino also said he was looking forward to working with the newly inaugurated Governor Deval Patrick, on the issues facing our city and the Commonwealth. He said he looked forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to craft a new revenue model, one that will relieve current pressures on property taxes and will do more to fuel the economic growth here in Boston.
Mayor Menino also spoke about the future plans in other neighborhoods. "We are strengthening civic spaces in all of Boston's neighborhoods. In Mattapan, we will break ground on a new public library. In West Roxbury, we are building a new playground at Hynes Field. And at our public high schools, we're in the midst of a multi-year commitment to upgrade our athletic fields. Citywide, we are improving the places that put the life in city life."