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SHAYNE GILBERT, founder of Boston-based Silverweave,
led a group in the late 1990s called the Cyber District Organization. The “Cyber District” was Menino’s first — and largely forgotten — attempt to brand a high-tech neighborhood, a precursor to today’s Innovation District.

“Back in 1997, a group of techies and geeks approached Mayor Menino about recognizing the cluster of skilled and talented tech workers in Boston. Our intrepid mayor embraced the vision and, thus, the Cyber District, the forerunner of today’s Innovation District, was born. From the earliest days, Mayor Menino was instrumental in promoting the resources of the Boston tech community.”

NICOLE FICHERA is general manager of District Hall,
the central meeting space for the Innovation District,
and previously worked for Menino to help create the tech-centric neighborhood. When you’re talking about innovation, cities are more important than they’ve ever been. Mayor Menino knew that. He wasn’t the most tech-savvy guy himself, but he knew that cities were the right place for innovation to happen: dense, connected, diverse.

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“He had the biggest vision reshaping the agenda for innovation and entrepreneurship in cities, and making Boston a world leader in that conversation. When the Mayor thought about encouraging innovation, he always remembered that innovators are people. He was a great man, and we’re going to miss him a lot.”

Real estate developer JOSEPH F. FALLON is building Fan Pier, one of the major complexes of offices, residences, and retail in the Innovation District.

“Even when he was a city councilor he wanted the city to have a startup culture. He was passionate about creating work spaces where entrepreneurs from our colleges, and young professionals, could start their businesses and stay in Boston.

“But what I really remember is how he always helped people. The Seaport was a long-term vision, and it’s part of his legacy, but if you ask me what I remember most about Tom Menino it’s that he helped people.”