Mayor Wu meets constituents at final Coffee Hour at Mother's Rest Park

A group of neighbors and other elected officials are shown with Mayor Wu during a coffee hour event today at Mother's Rest Park in Dorchester's Four Corners area. Cassidy McNeeley photo

Mayor Michelle Wu visited a newly-renovated Mother’s Rest Park near Four Corners in Dorchester on Wednesday morning, the last stop in a tour of city parks and playgrounds as part of a “coffee hour” series across the neighborhoods of the city.

The event was an opportunity for constituents hear directly from Mayor Wu about her administration’s priorities as they sampled donated iced coffee and donuts from Dunkin’ and checked out the latest renovations to the city-owned park.

“This is the last coffee hour of our two-month-plus season of going to every single neighborhood. The best for last,” Wu said as kids played in a newly-opened splash pad nearby. “We appreciate all of our city departments helping us make this possible. There's a lot to celebrate in Boston right now.”

Ryan Woods, the city’s Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, explained that the $1.99 million renovation of the Washington Street park was a community-driven process. A crowd of about 100 people listened between a ping-pong table and work-out equipment while others perched in new stadium seating.

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“We heard loud and clear from the community that they wanted water play, they wanted room for spoken word, they wanted table tennis, they wanted areas to work out, and I think this $1.99 million renovation hit the mark and were able to have all those features the community wants,” said Woods. “We want the community to be in this park with positive activity and push negative activity and behavior away. We want people to come to this park.”

The event was not only a chance to show off the new park features but also an opportunity to encourage community conversation. While residents had the chance to send in questions and concerns online, only one was submitted by a constituent who inquired what to do about littering in the neighborhood. Wu and her team fielded plenty of spontaneous questions on the spot.

Wu reflected on some of the later, telling the Reporter: “There were some very specific situations today. One was on several homes near the Shawmut station that wanted curb cuts for driveways and had been denied so were going to look into that. There were some on different traffic informant issues. It’s a whole gambit of issues.”

She expressed gratitude to all who showed up.

“First of all, I just wanted to welcome everyone, and say we are ok. This is a neighborhood coffee hour; we welcome everyone here to express their views on the budget and different policies. We appreciate your advocacy,” said Wu.

She added: “To everyone else that is here we appreciate all that you do and the many hats you wear, the values you stand up for, what you are fighting for. This park is here because of you.”

“You get to see young people, seniors, and everybody comes with questions for our departments or suggestions that they have for the city so it's really the best version of democracy in Boston all mixed together.”

During the event, a small group of protestors held signs that were critical of Wu and Boston Police funding. One protestor who approached the mayor was Alec MacLean, of Dedham, who said he was injured by Boston Police during a protest at Emerson College earlier this spring. MacLean identified himself as a member of the Muslim Justice League. Fatema Ahmad, who lives in Dorchester, told the Reporter that MJL was there to oppose Wu’s policing policies.

“There are concerns both about [Mayor Wu’s] unwillingness to ban the Boston Police from ever training with Israeli military forces or police ever again and there are concerns about her increasing the policing budget,” said Ahmad. “I live down the street, I want to make sure that community members actually know what stances she has on policing policies.”

Most who encountered the mayor offered positive reinforcement with many lining up under the hot sun to hug her, take a photo, and thank her for her work. Also on hand at the event were State Rep. Russell Holmes, City Councillor At-Large Erin Murphy, State Rep. Christopher Worrell, and District 4 City Councillor Brian Worrell.

“A big shout out to Mayor Wu and her administration for always being so responsive and invested in our community,” said Councillor Worrell, who grew up just down the street from the park,

“We have said from day one we want to be the city that is home for everyone. Every generation, every culture, every background,” said Wu. “That means being the safest city in America, the greenest city in America, and the most family-friendly city. Those are our goals and our north star that we move toward.”

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Mayor Wu with a group of young athletes from the Boston Lions track team. Cassidy McNeeley photo

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