Mayor Walsh Serves as Keynote Speaker for BBA Annual Meeting

Mayor Martin J. Walsh served as keynote speaker for the 96th annual meeting of the Back Bay Association Monday morning at the Hynes Convention Center.

Walsh said the city has raised $10 million to date for Boston’s Way Home – a self-described “action plan to end veteran and chronic homelessness in Boston.”

“The ultimate goal is to build a permanent facility [for the homeless] on Long Island,” Walsh added. “Everyone deserves a place to call home – that’s our goal.”

And Walsh said after a lengthy search, the city has found a permanent home for the Josiah Quincy Upper School at 249 Harrison Ave. in Chinatown.

With large developments projects under construction and coming to the Back Bay, including One Dalton and Parcel 12, Walsh pledged to “continue working with the community as they see the neighborhood change.”

Walsh said the city would also undertake extensive sidewalk improvements “to make it easier and safer to get around this neighborhood.”

In addition, Walsh discussed plans for Gloucester artist Pablo Eduardo’s $2 million memorial to the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings coming to Boylston Street.

Now entering its fourth season, Open Newbury Street will return July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 15 as the city closes it to vehicular traffic, thereby transforming the full width of the street from Berkeley Street to Massachusetts Avenue into a pedestrian-only walkway.

“It showcases what our neighborhood has to offer,” Walsh said of the recurring events.

Like    Meg Mainzer-Cohen, president and executive director of the BBA, Walsh also expressed his gratitude to outgoing City Councilor Josh Zakim for his service to the city.

Mainzer-Cohen, along with David Leonard, a BBA board member and president of the Boston Public Library, presented the Heavy Lifting Award to Back Bay Homeless Outreach – a group of business owners, law enforcement, representatives from the faith community and homeless outreach workers who meet at the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library bi-weekly to help connect homeless individuals with necessary resources.

John Hailer, chairman of the Back Bay Association board of directors, president of 1251 Capital Group and a Back Bay resident described the neighborhood as a “vibrant economic zone…with a lot of new businesses coming to Newbury Street and the Back Bay.” He added that retail at the Prudential Center and Copley Place “continues to thrive.”

Hailer outlined the BBA’s major achievements from the past year, including managing the Boylston Street Improvement Project; working on the Homeless Task Force, assisting new businesses in the neighborhood and helping existing businesses to expand their footprints; and sponsoring the 86th Annual Meeting of the Unites States Conference of Mayors last June.

And to manage its growing social media needs, Hailer said the BBA has hired a women-led firm, the 1909.

Meanwhile, Dan Donahue, a BBA board member and president of the Lenox Hotel, delivered the Nominating Committee Report and introduced the slate of officers – Chris Hailer, chairman; Joseph Hanley, vice chair; Brenda Hanley, secretary; and Bill Kenney, treasurer.

New incoming board members include Chris Dalton; Alan Smith, general manager of the Boston Marriott Copley Place; and Michael Fleisher, CFO of the Boston-based e-commerce company Wayfair, Donahue said.

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