Editor's note: The headline of this article was changed on Thursday, June 1. This guest column was submitted and written by Mayor Rob Dolan.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of our city. Over the years they have lent millions of dollars worth of time, expertise, and hard work to make our city a better place. Whether they are serving on a board or commission, rounding up spin bikes for Healthy Melrose, or tutoring students in our schools, volunteers provide a host of services and expertise, and we are a richer community, in every sense of the word, because of them.
On June 21, we will honor all our city's volunteers in a special way, by rededicating the Warren Street Park as Volunteer Park. We will have a special celebration at the park, with ice cream and children's games as well as a ribbon-cutting, and I hope all the volunteers who read this—whether you volunteer for the city, a hospital, or any other group—will join us.
Even the idea for the park came from a volunteer.
Mary-Kate Mahoney, who is in the fourth grade at the Horace Mann School, first came to me with the idea of renaming a city park to honor all our volunteers.
"My mom and my dad and I were taking a vacation in Washington, DC, and we went on a tour and we saw all the statues of famous people," she said. "I asked my dad why don’t they have any statues for people like you and mom, and he said 'I don’t know.' I was thinking about it some more, and when we got back home I asked him about the idea of building a statue for volunteers—and then I came up with the idea of naming a park."
She talked to me about it at the Victorian Fair, and I thought it was a great idea. We decided on the Warren Street park, as it is named after a street, not a person, and the park has an active group of volunteers who support it.
In fact, when we met with Jen McAndrew, one of the supporters of the park, she was enthusiastic about the idea as well. The Neighbors and Supporters of the Park raised $2,600 to pay for a new seesaw and two bouncy seats, and the city paid for a new slide, picnic table, and park benches. So the park itself is a collaboration between the city and volunteers! Photographer Dana Giuliana volunteered his services and took family photos at Mount Hood to help raise money for the cause. And when the park is opened, the Neighbors will have an Adopt-a-Site right by the entrance.
Ward Alderman John Tramontozzi has lent his enthusiastic support as well.
At the entrance to the park, we will place a plaque that reads "Volunteers are the heart of humanity and the soul of a city," a motto written by Mary-Kate and her mother, Pat Muxie. Our volunteers truly represent the spirit of Melrose, and I hope you will join us in celebrating their contributions as we rededicate this park in their honor.
The rededication will be held on Thursday, June 21, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Warren Street Park, corner of Warren and Melrose streets.