BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh and local elected officials today joined Massport and the family of the late Thomas J. Butler, former Director of External Affairs at Massport and true son of South Boston, to celebrate the opening of the Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor and Memorial Park.
“This project is a fitting tribute to Tommy Butler’s dedication to Massport, South Boston and the Commonwealth, supporting the growth of an economic staple that has employed members of the community for generations while giving back to the people of this neighborhood,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are honored to join his family, friends and colleagues to dedicate this new green and open space in his honor.”
Butler was the former mayor of the South Boston Boys Club and director of Little City Hall in Charlestown. He was also the former president of the South Boston Citizens Association and a member of the South Boston Irish American Society. He began his career at Massport in 1987 as a manager of inter-governmental relations. Butler also served as a licensed social worker for the Boston Juvenile Court and the City of Boston. He passed away in March 2011.
“Tommy Butler was a force of nature who saw the best in everybody, who fought for what he believed in and knew the value of hard work and fairness,” said Mayor Marty Walsh. “This park will be a place for those who were lucky enough to know him to remember him and for all who call South Boston home to sit, visit and enjoy their neighborhood – as Tommy would have wanted it. It’s an honor to be here today with his family and his friends from Massport to remember such a remarkable man.”
The 3,100-foot bypass road known as the Thomas J. Butler Freight Corridor will remove all Conley Container Terminal truck traffic from the heavy residential areas on East First Street and part of Summer Street, rerouting it through the former Coastal Oil site to connect to the major highways. As part of the $75 million project, the Thomas J. Butler Memorial Park was designed to replace the Conley Terminal truck traffic in the neighborhoods with trees, flowers, footpaths, seating, lighting, bike racks and parking spaces for the enjoyment of all.
The Freight Corridor will keep 400-500 foot-long container trucks off East First Street and a portion of Summer Street every day. The Thomas Butler Freight Corridor includes:
A 0.6-mile roadway for Conley Terminal container truck traffic including a 500-foot long bridge across the former Exelon Power Plant inlet at the Reserve Channel;
A state-of the art security facility which will increase the safety of Port operations;
Much needed green space with the 4.5 acre Thomas Butler Memorial park, which includes lighted paths for walkers and runners, bike racks, and a new separately enclosed dog park;
A noise wall along East First Street that creates an effective sound barrier;
95 on-street parking spaces along East First Street.
Many state and local representatives attended Friday’s opening celebration and shared their fond sentiments of Butler and spoke to his dedication to the community.
“Tommy Butler dedicated his life to his beloved South Boston,” said Congressman Stephen F. Lynch. “He was always willing to help a neighbor in need and was committed to improving lives through his work with community groups and youth organizations. This spectacular greenspace is a fitting memorial for a man who loved his community, and whose community loved him back.”
“Tommy Butler was a great advocate not only for his beloved neighborhood of South Boston, but for Greater Boston and the entire Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “His commitment, knowhow and grit have left an indelible mark on Massachusetts and the many causes he championed. Tommy touched even more lives through his work in the juvenile court system. His legacy will live on with this new bypass road and park. In addition to the economic benefits it will bring, it will also help strengthen the communities that he loved.”
“Tommy Butler’s dedication to the city and state is unmatched; while his knowledge, love of community and know-how served him well in his role at Massport,” said State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. “He was a champion for the people of South Boston and he fought hard to make sure that his neighborhood and its residents were able to grow and thrive along with Massport. The Tommy Butler Freight Corridor and Memorial Park will benefit families, friends, the community and will serve as a reminder of Tommy Butler’s commitment and dedication to residents of Boston.”
“I’m pleased to be here today to celebrate the opening of this magnificent park which will serve the residents of this vibrant community for many, many years,” said State Representative Nick Collins. “It is fitting it is named for Tommy Butler, who dedicated his life to working to make South Boston benefit from its proximity to Massport facilities, not just bear the burden of them.”
“Tommy Butler personified what it meant to be a great friend and a great neighbor,” said City Councilor Michael Flaherty. “Tommy was a true a son of South Boston, but was loved all across the city and beyond. Everything Massport touched, Tommy touched. He was a go to guy, fixer, and a problem solver who helped thousands of people along his way. This park will always remind me and the Flaherty family of Tommy’s loyalty, friendship, quick wit, loving smile, cheerful laugh and his passion for the neighborhood.”
“Tommy Butler loved South Boston,” said Jillian Butler, daughter of Thomas J. Butler. “He dedicated his life to making his neighborhood a place where families wanted to live, businesses could thrive, but most importantly, a place that you were proud to call your hometown. He was passionate about his position at Massport and successfully bridged the sometimes difficult gaps within his community and the organization. We hope that this park propitiously represents the legacy of family commitment, public service and community engagement intertwined with the name, Thomas J. Butler. We are proud to share his legacy with the families of South Boston and grateful that his memory lives on in the place he so dearly loved. Thank you to all of those that came out today to honor Tommy, it is truly a testament to his legacy.”
As owner and operator of the Port of Boston, Massport has contributed to the civic life of South Boston by providing critical economic and community benefits for three generations. With more than 7,000 direct jobs, the Port of Boston is the City’s 6th largest employer, and a critical component of the state’s economy, contributing $4.6 billion annually to the economy along with 50,000 total jobs. From cars to cranberries, furniture to shoes, and a wide range of technology components, over 1,600 companies throughout New England depend on Massport’s Conley Container Terminal to carry goods in and out of the region.
“Massport has a deep commitment to our host communities and it is safe to say that there may never be anyone as committed to South Boston as Tommy Butler was,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “He instilled a love and enthusiasm for the neighborhood in everyone he met and made sure that the people of South Boston were never forgotten in any decision, big or small. His legacy lives on in his family and friends from Massport and I’m very happy to dedicate this beautiful new park to such a special man.”