Categories: Editorials

Letter to the Editor

Come Celebrate With Winthrop Public Library

Dear Editor,

We, the Trustees of the Winthrop Public Library and Museum,  are delighted to invite our vibrant community to the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the Winthrop Public Library and Museum. This  milestone will be commemorated on Thursday, June 27, 2024, from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, marking exactly 125 years since the library first opened its doors.

The celebration will begin with a short ceremony at 5:00 PM, followed by an evening filled with pizza, cake, and live music. We warmly welcome all community members to join us in honoring this beloved institution; a cornerstone of knowledge, culture, and community spirit since its inception.

Throughout the day, the library will host an Open House featuring exhibits of historical artifacts from the museum and new displays related to the library’s anniversary. This is a perfect opportunity to explore the rich history of our library and its pivotal role in our community.

The library’s importance cannot be overstated. It serves as a beacon of learning, a hub for social gatherings, and a repository of our shared history. The Trustees’ hope for the library back in 1891 was for it to be a separate new building, a dream that found its realization thanks to a generous offer from Mrs. Eliza W. Frost in 1897. Her donation of $10,000, matched by the Town, led to the establishment of the Frost Public Library. This building was dedicated on June 27, 1899, in a grand ceremony attended by over 400 residents and dignitaries, a testament to the library’s profound impact.

Over the years, the Winthrop Public Library and Museum has evolved into a community center where families and individuals gather to connect, learn, and grow. The library hosts a variety of important programs such as: story hours for children, book clubs, art classes, and art exhibits. In an effort to foster creativity and lifelong learning, these programs enrich the lives of our residents and community as a whole.

To continue the festivities, the library is hosting a special pottery art class in the Children’s Room on Friday morning, June 28th at 10:30AM. Local artist Paige Corvello will teach children some pottery techniques of hand building. No experience is needed, participants will create pieces to keep. 

The library stands today as a living testament to the community’s enduring support and love for the institution. Let us come together to celebrate its legacy and to look forward to many more years of learning and growth.

Join us in this joyous celebration and be a part of Winthrop’s living history.

Warm regards,

Gillian Teixeira, Chair

Annie Ferreira, Vice Chair

Betty Peabody,  Alyson Dewar, Gary Skomro, Marie Matarazzo

Winthrop Public Library and Museum Board of Trustees Community Advocate Calls for Recognition of Renters’ Contributions in Winthrop

Dear Editor,

Throughout my entire childhood, my parents rented our home for various reasons; they could not afford to buy a home, we relocated from the West Coast to the East Coast and back a few times because my Dad went from working at two different universities. They were eventually able to buy their first home in 1990 in Southeastern, Massachusetts. Prior to buying their townhome in a multi-family development, they rented for thirteen years in the same multi-family home. My parents were model tenants and cared for “our home” as if they owned it themselves. 

As a fifty-eight year-old adult, I have been on both sides of the coin; homeowner and tenant.  My husband and I have rented single family homes, townhouses, condos, and apartments. We have owned large and medium sized properties in urban, rural and suburban communities. For the past 10 years, we have resided in a small 1,008 square foot half-story cape out on Point Shirley (purchased in 2014). We rented in East Boston [Maverick Square] for three years prior to buying our home in Winthrop. Being a tenant does not mean a person has less value. Some property owners are often dismissive of people who rent and consider them nothing more than transient and uninvolved in the community. In some communities, this could not be farther from the truth. During three years of living in East Boston, my husband and I were very involved in community issues, and quite active and had strong and ongoing  interaction with the elected leadership. It is the same for us here in Winthrop. As a side note, if we had not been able to afford buying a home here, we would still be renting here, because we like it here as much as everyone else does. 

Many communities need to alter their perceptions about renters and truly respect people who rent rather than own property. There has always on some level been a stigma about renters; that’s a fact. Renters are a valuable part of every community and Winthrop is no exception. Often, communities have more of an owner-centrified mentality and it can leave those citizens who rent out in the cold in regards to perceived value and contribution as residents. This has become more apparent as we engage in conversations regarding the MBTA Communities law (3A) and the development of additional multi-family housing in our community. Not everyone can afford to purchase a home regardless of type; single family, townhome, condominium, mobile home, etc. For some people who rent, it is their only option even if they actually desire home ownership. Some of Winthrop’s many realtors do much more than merely represent sellers and buyers of properties. They also assist landlords with listing rental properties and helping tenants find a rental property to call “home”.  Realtors and rental agents are helping to grow the diversity of housing options in this community. 

Winthrop has many, many residents who are tenants instead of property owners. The diversity among people who rent here could not be more visible; single people, families with children, families without children, people who are downsizing from a single family property, middle and lower income residents, empty nesters, young business professionals, senior citizens, people with disabilities and so on. Each and every one of these tenants has a voice; they vote, they spend money at Winthrop’s many businesses, they volunteer in the community, many have children who attend the school system here. We need to encourage people in our community who are tenants, no matter what neighborhood or type of property they rent, to be part of the conversation around the MBTA Communities law (3A) and the development of additional multi-family housing in Winthrop. They hold a significant stake in how future development will impact them as tenants and any possibility of future property ownership or potential new rental opportunities should they so desire. Their voice and input is needed at all future meetings of both the planning board and the town council. Winthrop’s leadership needs to hear from its citizens across the spectrum and that includes those residents who rent their home whether it is a single family home or in a multi-family building (apartment, condo, townhome, etc). Residents need to stop “othering” people who rent. The mentality of some that an apartment is not a home is beyond offensive and derogatory towards those who have no option but to rent where they live or even those who choose not to own property. As someone who has spent many years in between ownership of one home or another as a tenant, I have found in my own experience that some property owners carry negative attitudes towards those people who are tenants. 

If you are a Winthrop resident who is a tenant and rents your home (apartment, condo, single family home, etc), I encourage each of you to come forward and get involved! Bring your questions, comments and concerns to the planning board and town council during the public comments portion of every meeting, and all future special meetings relating to the MBTA Communities law (3A) and how Winthrop is evolving on this process of zoning. Share your own personal stories with the town council as to why you rent. They need to hear your perspective as citizens who are tenants. It cannot be merely a property owner focused conversation. If so, the dialogue and conversation become one-sided. Your voice is needed as is your presence in order that the process of evaluating our zoning and development around 3A is equitable. Contact the planning board and town council via email:  planningboard@town.winthrop.ma.us and towncouncil@town.winthrop.ma.us. 

Individual perspective matters. Winthrop residents have different perceptions about the MBTA 3A Communities Law and there is nothing wrong with that. You can be pro-3A and have a strong voice at the table, be heard, acknowledge and give input. And one should never feel encumbered in speaking up and out. You can have a voice and feel supported by those who share your same point of view on this issue. The key ingredients as we talk about community no matter what your perspective is on the MBTA Communities law (3A) and the potential development of any additional multi-family housing in our community is empathy, caring, compassion, respect and kindness. 

Every person who resides in the Winthrop community has value and a place at the table whether they own a property or rent where they live. Regardless of where a person rents, it is their ‘home’ in spite of what some might say. Check the Winthrop Town Calendar for all scheduled meetings. The next special meeting of the Winthrop Planning Board and RKG Consultant is on Tuesday, July 16th at 6 pm, Winthrop Senior Center, 35 Harvard Street. 

Scott Mahoney-Wright

Winthrop Working Together

Precinct 3 /

Point Shirley

Transcript Staff

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