State and city officials, business leaders, tourism officials, labor activists, community leaders, family and friends and South Boston neighbors gathered on Saturday November 12th to officially dedicate the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park in the South Boston Seaport District.
Among the officials in attendance were Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, US Congressman Steve Lynch, State Senator Linda Dorcena-Forry, State Representative Nick Collins, City Councilors Bill Linehan and Michael Flaherty and others.
Flynn, who served as Boston mayor from 1984 to 1993, and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 1993-1997, is an iconic figure in the Boston community, with a lifelong commitment to public service, speaking out for the underdog, and fighting for people from South Boston and Roxbury to Poland and Northern Ireland. Flynn is also known as a gifted athlete, a devout Catholic, and a politician who helped to heal the divide across Boston neighborhoods throughout his public career.
“Naming this facility for Ambassador Flynn is symbolic of so much of what he has fought for every day over a 45-year career in public life,” said Francis J. Doyle, co-chair of the city commission that recommended the honor for Ambassador Flynn.
“He is a lifelong South Boston resident who built a reputation in Boston and around the world as a bridge builder, the champion of working families, of bringing people together across divides of race, opportunity and nationality. Everybody counts in Ray Flynn’s Boston. Whether you arrived here yesterday or many generations ago, upholding the dignity and respect of all was the guiding principle. He continues the good fight today for social justice and religious freedom.”
The Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park will comprise the current Marine Industrial Park, owned by the City’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation (EDIC). It is a 191-acre site. Formerly an Army/Navy base, the site was nearly empty and abandoned until the property was granted to the EDIC between 1977 and 1983.
In their report to Mayor Walsh and City Councilor Bill Linehan making recommendations for ways to honor Ray Flynn, the Flynn Commission said, “The Park is about what the Flynn Administration was about: economic development that creates jobs. It is now home to over 200 businesses and more than 3,000 employees. It supports major seafood processing and wholesale companies. They join the Boston Design Center; ad agencies; research organizations; life sciences; and clean-energy companies in the bustling Raymond L. Flynn Marine Industrial Park. Given all that Ray Flynn stands for, we can think of no more appropriate place for the Flynn name to stand."
Flynn is known for building social and economic bridges that linked a prosperous downtown to affordable housing, jobs, and other opportunities for better lives in every neighborhood. The mayor earned wide national recognition and many awards for his leadership on reducing homelessness and ensuring quality housing and health care for homeless individuals and families. The City partnered with community development corporations, unions and other like-minded organizations to develop affordable housing across the city.