Joanne Hayes-Rines was honored for her leadership in the community by the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA). Presenting the award, a framed Harbor Fireworks print, was State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, NEWRA President Mary McGee and Treasurer Sue Benveniste at their April 12th meeting. (See 16:30 in video for award presentation.)

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Joanne is well-known as the longtime President of the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP), often referred to as the best “friends” group in Boston. FOCCP is an all-volunteer group made up of North End and Waterfront neighbors and businesses working together for the gem of the North End and Waterfront: Columbus Park. FOCCP works closely with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department to keep the park clean and well maintained while funding unique amenities such as the blue lights on the trellis and bringing elegant horticulture to the park, including its famous Rose Kennedy rose garden. Find out more about the Friends group and how to join at FOCCP.org.

More recently, Joanne led the effort to bring back New Year’s Eve fireworks to Boston Harbor. With the double barges, the 2018 fireworks were visible across Boston’s waterfront and the inner harbor, including front row views from the North End, Seaport, South Boston, Downtown, Wharf District, Charlestown Navy Yard and East Boston. Thousands came out across the waterfront to watch the display. Through a massive fundraising campaign, the return of midnight fireworks on New Year Eve over Boston Harbor was privately funded through donations to local non-profits, including Friends of Christopher Columbus Park, Wharf District Council and Boston Harbor Now.

Not one to rest, Joanne is working with other local non-profits to raise money for more firework shows, including June 30th (Independence Day / Harborfest celebration), Labor Day weekend and, of course, New Year’s 2019. If you have a contact to a business that might be interested in supporting the fireworks program, contact joanne@foccp.org.

Lastly, Joanne spoke about Preserve Boston’s Waterfront, a group of local residents who oppose the City’s development proposals for the Harbor Garage and the surrounding waterfront neighborhood. “The Municipal Harbor Plan ignores some of the real needs for the public realm,” said Hayes-Rines. She added “Where is the much-needed ferry terminal?  Where is the continuous Harborwalk from Columbus Park to the Moakley Bridge?  Where is a traffic plan, without which the hundreds of additional vehicles each day will bring traffic to a standstill. Building with no transportation infrastructure plan = the Seaport and resultant traffic chaos. Read more and view the petition here.


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