Hundreds celebrate opening of Martin’s Park, named in honor of Martin Richard

BOSTON (WHDH) - BOSTON (WHDH/AP) — Hundreds of area residents made their way to the Seaport on Saturday to celebrate the opening of Martin’s Park — an area dedicated to the memory of the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

The park, named for 8-year-old Martin Richard, was crowded with people during a ceremony that featured addresses from Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Martin’s parents, and a song from his sister, Jane, who lost a leg in the attack.

The waterfront park is located near the Boston Children’s Museum and features an accessible playground, a replica boat, a water play garden, and open space.

Martin was one of three people killed when two bombs exploded at the finish line.

Martin’s older brother, Henry Richard, says he plans to visit the park as often as he can.

“It’s a very big, inclusive park, it’s a very peaceful place, everyone can access it, and that’s a really important part of the message,” he said.

Martin’s cousins helped raise the flag to open the park and they say that the park is perfect.

“If he were still alive he would have probably built it the exact same way,” said his cousin, Ava Polonsky.

The Richard family says Martin spent much of his time growing up in Dorchester playing outside with his siblings and friends and they hope Martin’s Park will be a symbol of their son’s welcoming, inclusive nature, and his idea of the perfect park.

“You’re talking about a park that any young person can use, there’s no signs saying you go here, you go there,” said Walsh. “This park is there for every child, every ability.”

It took two years and  $15 million to make the park possible.

On Saturday, kids tested out the swings, slides, and pirate ship.

“The sailor’s room, you get to pretend you’re driving the ship,” said Emily Burton, who was among those enjoying the park.

After the bombing, a widely circulated photo showed Martin holding a poster he created with the message “No more hurting people — peace,” which was turned into a banner that overlooks the park.

“It’s a very personal meaning, it’s very deep and very peaceful place,” said Walsh. “I think his message is something we need to pay attention to, and I think we need to share across urban America, suburban America, and this world, no more hurting people.”

There are also five cherry trees planted at Martin’s Park in honor of the victims of the bombings, Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Sean Collier, and Dennis Simmons. They are planted in a circle around the ‘cosmo climber’ which the Richard family says was Martin’s favorite thing to do on the playground.

The Richard family hopes this park brings hours of joy to children visiting the city.

 

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