Former New England Patriot Ron Gronkowski was back in Boston on Friday, May 7, to announce his $1.2 million gift on behalf of the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation to the Esplanade Association for a complete renovation of the Charlesbank Playground.
Gronkowski made the announcement flanked by Gov. Charlie Baker; Rep. Jay Livingstone; Sen. Sal DiDomenico; City Councilor Kenzie Bok; Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides; Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Jim Montgomery; and Michael Nichols, executive director of the Esplanade Association, as well as Gordie Gronkowski, older brother of the tight end, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, among others.
Besides paying for the playground renovations, the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation’s gift to the Esplanade Association will also create a 10-year maintenance fund for the facility.
Gov. Baker called Ron Gronkowski “a big man with a big heart” and described his gift to the Esplanade Association “a more public example of the things he does al the time on behalf children.”
Gov. Baker added, “It’s great to see you back in Boston again and maybe we’ll see you again in February [at the Super Bowl].”
Nichols said Gronkowski had reached out to the Esplanade Association via Sarah Hurley, whom he described as a “mutual friend,” and added that Gronkowski would also be involved in the design phase of the project, which is set to begin this week.
Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Rep. Jay Livingstone have also filed legislation to rename the playground “Gronk Playground” upon completion of the project, which is expected some time in 2022.