The new East Boston Branch Library on Bremen Street is Mayor Thomas Menino’s parting gift to the neighborhood and it does not disappoint.
In what will be one of his last public appearances in Eastie as Mayor of Boston, Menino was honored with a community room named after him in the library as elected officials and residents spoke of his long commitment to the neighborhood.
After all Menino really wanted to get this project done, so much so, Menino directed some of the proceeds from the City’s sale of general obligation bonds to help fund the new library. Boston sold $232.1 million of general obligation bonds to secure an interest rate of 2.46 percent to fund $122 million in new capital projects that included the new Eastie library.
There was some fear that the new library would not get funding. It had been waitlisted for state funding but Menino decided to go forward with the plan and said the city would foot the bill if state funding did not become a reality. The city applied for a grant of $8 million to help defer the $11.3 million price tag on the new Eastie library from the Massachusetts Board Library Commissioners (MBLC). In July 2011, the MBLC announced that the Eastie project was placed 15th on a wait list of 15 other cities and towns seeking money from the board. At the time Menino said he would remain committed to see that the project gets done with or without state funding.
“This project has always been a priority of mine in East Boston,” said the Mayor at the time. “I made a commitment to the people of East Boston and I plan to follow up on my commitment even if the state doesn’t come through.”
Menino said it was important for residents of Eastie to enjoy a state-of-the-art facility that will meet the needs and growing role that a neighborhood library will play in the future.
And he got it done and for that, Eastie families will be forever grateful.