by Marc LaCasse, President, Washington Gateway Main Street & Jennifer Effron, Executive Director, Washington Gateway Main Street
On behalf of the Board of Directors of Washington Gateway Main Street (WGMS), I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mayor Thomas Menino for all he has done for our organization and Washington Street in the South End and Lower Roxbury. In 1995, almost a decade after the elevated Orange Line was removed Mayor Menino appointed a task force to make recommendations to revitalize Washington Street in this neighborhood. The task force prepared a comprehensive plan which resulted in new zoning and Washington Gateway Main Street's inception in 1997. In the 16 years since, the Washington Street has been transformed and the vision for a vibrantcommercial and residential corridor has been realized.
With over $1 billion dollars in public and private investment more than 2,000 housing units have been created or rehabilitated and over 80 new businesses have opened their doors. None of this would have been possible without Mayor Menino's strongsupport and leadership of Boston Main Streets. Through all of this change, he has always been present in the neighborhood: cutting ribbons for grand openings, lighting the tree during the holidays and talking with people at community events. Mayor Menino is a great supporter of the city-wide Main Streets program, now expanded into 20 neighborhoods, helping small, locally owned businesses thrive. Washington Gateway is a great Main Streets success story and we would not be here if not for the Mayor. We thank you for your years of service to this great City, Mr. Mayor, and wish you well in your new endeavors, whatever they may be. Rest assured that we will do all we can to carry on the legacy you asked us to create and continue to make this neighborhood a better place to live, work, do business, and play. Many thanks, and best wishes always to Mayor Tom Menino.