Martin's Park

Inspiring Joy and Promoting Peace on Boston’s Waterfront

The Martin Richard Charitable Foundation and partners celebrate the groundbreaking of Martin’s Park.

On August 16, Jim Canales joined the Richard family, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Dana Smith of the Smith Family Foundation, Carole Charnow of the Boston Children’s Museum, and many other partners of the Martin Richard Charitable Foundation, to celebrate the groundbreaking of Martin’s Park. Barr has committed $3 million to support the park’s creation and maintenance as part of the Foundation’s Special Initiative promoting a great public realm along Boston’s waterfront. Below are Jim’s remarks from the ceremony.

Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to represent the Barr Foundation today, which has committed $3 million in support of Martin’s Park.

The Barr Foundation was motivated to participate in this compelling civic project for many reasons, but perhaps this anecdote says it best:

During one of the very first conversations I had with Bill and Denise Richard, they noted poignantly that they sought to honor their son Martin in a way that looked forward with hope rather than looked back with sadness. Their intent was to turn a tragic event in their lives into an opportunity that paid tribute to Martin’s spirit and brought benefit to many others.

Martin’s Park promises to be a place of joy, a site for community, a space for fellowship, and a venue of beauty. As such, this park will embody Martin’s spirit abundantly.

Martin’s Park promises to be a place of joy, a site for community, a space for fellowship, and a venue of beauty. As such, this park will embody Martin’s spirit abundantly.

The park will also encourage us to realize our highest aspirations.

First, it will be a place accessible to young people of all abilities, for them to enjoy all that the park will offer. This focus on accessibility was a core commitment from the early planning for what this park should be and the bar it would set for others.

Second, the park will be built in a way that is fully cognizant of its location on the waterfront and the reality of a changing climate. Fort Point Channel already floods on a somewhat regular basis, so the park has been designed to be resilient to flooding, storm surge, and the related effects of climate change.

And finally, Martin’s Park will showcase the very best of urban park design.

We are delighted that the City selected the noted landscape architecture firm, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, for this project.

Michael has been personally engaged throughout, bringing his tremendous vision and creativity to this project in a way that honors Martin and responds to the Richard family’s vision.

For all of these reasons, the Barr Foundation was honored to contribute to a project that we know will become a destination for our home city. We designated $2 million of our commitment to create a maintenance endowment to ensure that Martin’s Park receives the quality of care it deserves in perpetuity. We have been pleased that many others have also contributed to this endowment, so future generations of Bostonians can delight in the park’s wonder.

Today’s headlines and the events of this past weekend in Charlotteville affirm that we live in challenging times. Occasions such as today’s remind us that when there is division and discord in our society, messages of hope resonate and unite.

Occasions such as today’s remind us that when there is division and discord in our society, messages of hope resonate and unite.

In that way, Martin’s immortal message perhaps carries even more resonance today. That message of peace, etched in our memories, will now live on through the physical transformation of this space.

Martin’s Park will serve as an inspiration to all. What a privilege for all of us to be here at the beginning, and what a wonderful legacy the Richard family has created for Martin and for Boston.

Denise and Bill, thank you for allowing all of us to take part in translating your vision into reality.

Watch CBS Boston coverage of Jane Richard’s and Bill Richard’s inspiring remarks from the groundbreaking ceremony:

Read additional news coverage:

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Jim Canales

James E. Canales

President & Trustee