It is hard to overstate the significance of the $2.38 million MassWorks grant that Gov. Charlie Baker personally delivered to Winthrop town officials this past Friday that will be used to bring about significant infrastructure improvements to Winthrop Centre.
It isn’t often that a governor comes to town (in our “Through the Years” column this week, the visit of then-Gov. Guild in July, 1907, was a pretty big deal at that time), let alone bearing a check for $2.38 million that promises to transform Winthrop’s business center to take it into the 21st century.
Our youthful State Sen. Joe Boncore correctly noted that the Centre’s last revitalization project occurred 30 years ago in the late 1980s (which also has been mentioned in our “Through the Years” column recently). While to those of us who are old-timers (for whom the 1980s don’t seem so long ago) the Centre may still look pretty good, we are comparing it in our minds to the way it had been since the 1940s, when French Square was reconfigured upon the demise of the Narrow Gauge Railroad.
But when we realize that for Sen. Boncore (who was quick to note that he was 5 years old in 1987!), a 30-year period represents almost two generations, it makes us understand that perhaps it is indeed time for another revitalization of the Centre to prepare it for the future generations of businesses, real estate projects, and other developments that will allow our community to keep pace with technological and other changes that are coming at all of us at a rate that is ever-faster and more-furious.
There is no question that without the MassWorks grant, Winthrop could not afford to accomplish such a monumental undertaking. However, thanks to the foresight and efforts of Gov. Baker, House Speaker Bob DeLeo, Sen. Boncore, and Jay Ash, the administration’s Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Winthrop will be ready to turn the page for the next chapter of its development so that it will continue as a vibrant and cohesive community, as our town always has been since our incorporation in 1852.