Excerpts from Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s speech Thursday at Faneuil Hall:
Over the past few months, I have been weighing my own place in Boston’s bright future. During that time, I have been blessed to regain so much of my health.
I am back to a mayor schedule, but not a Menino schedule.
And I miss that. I miss hitting every event, ribbon cutting, new homeowner dinner, school play, and chance meeting. Spending so much time in the neighborhoods gives me energy. Being with our residents builds our trust. It may not be the only way to lead Boston, but it’s the only way for me.
So I am here with the people I love, to tell the city I love that I will leave the job that I love. I can run, I can win, and I can lead, but not ‘in-the-neighborhoods-all-the-time’ as I like. . . .
I will be very proud if I have changed our city in some ways that last. I know from community leaders, business executives, nonprofit champions, and teachers of all types that there are more ways to impact our city than just this one.
So I do plan to stay very engaged in Boston’s future. I am not retiring, but just turning one page on this chapter to the next. . . .
I have no plans to pick the person to fill this seat. I just ask that you choose someone who loves this city as much as I have. . . .
One of the great blessings of this job was meeting half the people who live in this city. I get asked all the time how I met so much of Boston. I just did what I loved, and then it wasn’t too hard:
All you do is start in Roslindale and rebuild its Main Street with neighbors. You walk with the proud residents of Bowdoin-Geneva every Christmas Eve as they survey their progress, and you keep walking until the job is done.
You promise the people of Grove Hall a supermarket and shopping mall, and you deliver.
You say in West Roxbury that a landfill will become a park and then you return for soccer games.
You shovel dirt in Dudley Square to move what seemed like mountains.
To build Boston’s waterfront with a new generation, you collaborate, because that’s what truly meeting people is.
You open your arms to all new Bostonians and then stand with them as they become citizens. And then you cut a ribbon on the small business they started.
And then, when their children graduate at the top of their class, you have them for lunch and marvel at how fast they rise up in a city that welcomes them all.
You stand with new homeowners in public housing and tell them they deserve a yard and a front door. You reach out to the homeless on cold winter nights and say they count also.
You rally with gay friends and neighbors.
You work with business executives to provide summer jobs and then talk with teens about what they learned. You visit the younger kids at Camp Harbor View.
If you want to meet half the people in our city, all you do is go to their homes, their jobs, where they raise their families and where they strive to improve their neighborhoods and say this: Boston is the greatest city on earth. The buzz around this city is amazing. . . . It gets better every day because of you, and as long as you work together that will never change.