The announcement this week by the office of House Speaker Robert DeLeo, in conjunction with Massport and Winthrop town officials, that Massport will be increasing its payment-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOT) by $2.5 million to establish a foundation that will benefit town projects and organizations is simply incredible — and there is no other word to describe it.
The first priority for the funds will be the rebuilding of Miller Field at the new high school. Presently, Miller Field stands as the poorest excuse for an athletic facility in this area, if not the state. Miller, which originally was constructed in the late 1930s as a Public Works Administration project under the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, long has outlived its usefulness as an athletic facility.
The track is in such bad condition that Winthrop High School has not been allowed by the Northeastern Conference to host a home track meet in many years. The football field itself is unsafe and unusable in any sort of bad weather when it essentially becomes a mosh pit. Coaches from other schools have commented that they do not want their athletes competing here. In addition, Miller’s usage is increasing with the recent introduction of a lacrosse program at Winthrop High.
Every other surrounding community — Chelsea, Revere, and East Boston among them — has a new artificial turf field that not only permits use in poor weather by high school teams, but provides a recreational facility for youth athletes. In addition, a newly-rebuilt track will provide a boon for senior citizens and others who want a quiet and safe place to walk when windy weather makes walking along Shore Drive or at Deer Island less than ideal.
We first wish to recognize Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn and the Massport Board of Directors for their willingness to fund the Winthrop Foundation that in the years ahead will benefit our town in countless ways, beginning with this new athletic facility.
However, once again — and we do mean once AGAIN — the incredible leadership of our own House Speaker, Bob DeLeo, must be recognized as the driving force that has paved the way to make our community a better place for all of our citizens.
No one understands the importance of education better than Bob DeLeo, who himself is a graduate of Boston Latin School and who attended law school at nights while working in the Register of Probate’s office.
However, we know that Bob also realizes the truth of the Roman axiom, “Mens sans in corpore sano,” — a sound mind in a sound body. Further, as a youth athlete himself who coached town teams and whose two children, Bobby Jr. and Rachelle, were outstanding high school athletes at Winthrop High, Bob fully appreciates a phrase often used by our long-time publisher, Andrew P. Quigley, quoting General Douglas MacArthur when he was the head of West Point: “On the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that in later years and on other fields will bear the fruits of victory.”
Thank you Massport and thank you Bob DeLeo — your actions announced this week will provide enormous benefit for our town and generations to come.