Former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino is being remembered as a great friend to the local business community, having brought his administration’s successful citywide Main Streets program to East Boston while aiding dozens of local businesses during his 21 years in office.
Max Gruner, executive director of East Boston Main Streets, a program that helps improve the physical appearance of East Boston’s commercial district and provides funding and guidance to new businesses, praised former Mayor Menino as “a true friend of Boston’s neighborhoods.”
“Far beyond being the Urban Mechanic, he was a true visionary who understood that Boston’s greatness hinged as much on our vibrant neighborhoods as it depended on a cosmopolitan downtown,” said Gruner. “He will be missed by the Main Streets community – and we are honored to continue the work he started.”
Richard Cavegnaro, chairman and CEO of East Boston Savings Bank, said Mr. Menino helped promote businesses and advance economic development and he was a strong advocate for all residents of the city.
“Mayor Menino was one of a kind,” said Gavegnano. “He will be forever known for his altruistic commitment to the people, businesses, and economic development of the city. Mayor was such a strong advocate for the people of Boston he will certainly be missed.”
Joe Ruggiero, owner of the Ruggiero Funeral Home, said he was “blessed and honored” when Mr. Menino showed up at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the funeral home on Jan. 10, 2000.
“Mayor Menino, along with then-Senate President Robert Travaglini and other local officials, made it a point on that Saturday afternoon to come here and cut the ribbon for me,” recalled Ruggiero, who also worked on Mr. Menino’s mayoral campaigns.
Ruggiero always felt that Mr. Menino truly enjoyed serving as the mayor of Boston.
“When a person enjoys what they do, it makes their life fulfilling, and you could see that nobody enjoyed being the mayor as much as Thomas Menino,” said Ruggiero. “It was all about the people and the little things, and it was all about how the little things were so important to people. If all mayors respect and care and do for East Boston what Mayor Menino did, that would be a great gift to this community.”
Thomas P. Glynn, CEO of Massport, lauded Mr. Menino’s leadership, saying he led Boston “with compassion, foresight, and a relentless devotion to this city’s neighborhoods and residents.”
“He was a fierce defender of East Boston,” said Glynn. “Nobody did more to protect, improve, and strengthen Boston’s neighborhoods than Mayor Menino. When he found opportunity, he expanded it. When he found injustice, he stopped it. When he found diversity he celebrated it.”
Scott Heigelmann, president of the East Boston Chamber of Commerce, said Mr. Menino’s vision helped attract new businesses to East Boston.
“Along with the substantial economic development that Mayor Menino accomplished in the City of Boston, he never forgot that small businesses are the backbone of the local economy,” said Heigelmann.
“Under his leadership, the potential of the East Boston waterfront was firmly acknowledged helping to secure future economic vitality for our neighborhood, and for that we will always be grateful. His vision led to numerous small business initiatives that helped encourage growth and attract new business to East Boston.”