With a black and white photo showing the late John and Christine Markey enjoying Revere Beach placed prominently at the mouth of the new bridge bearing their last name, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Malden) said he believes the new bridge will help bring the wonder back to Wonderland and continue to fuel the resurgence of the City of Revere.
â€œThis is a tremendous honor for our family and my mother and father were emblematic of the millions who came to this Beach,â€ said Markey. â€œMore than 100 years ago, the MDC took down 300 homes on this beach to make the first public beach in America. They did this this so that those who did not have a summer home would have a place for summer recreation. My family was one of those families.
â€œThis was the place where my mother would take my two brothers and I â€“ loading us up on the Blue bus in Malden Square with peanut butter sandwiches, potato chips, and a Thermos of Kool-Aid,â€ he continued. â€œWe spent the day down here at Revere Beach in the summer. After my father got out of work at the Hood Plant, he would come down and we would swim in the evenings and then go home. That was our summer vacation.â€
Markey also said that, later in life, Revere Beach was the one place that brought his mother solace as she suffered from Alzheimerâ€™s Disease and his father struggled to care for her at home.
â€œHe vowed to never step foot in a nursing home,â€ said Markey. â€œThey would come down here to Revere Beach and he would spread out a blanket and sit on the Beach and look out at the ocean. Nothing cheered my mother up more than Revere Beach during that time and I think it was because of happy memories we had at this Beach. This Beach had a very special place in their lives.â€
The bridge is known as the Markey Bridge and is named in honor of Congressman Markeyâ€™s parents. The engraving on the granite marker in front reads, â€œIn honor of Christine and John Markey, an extraordinary couple representing the millions of families past, present and future who have and will enjoy relaxation, respite and recreation at Revere Beach, a national treasure and urban oasis along the Atlantic Ocean.â€
Mayor Dan Rizzo kicked off the ceremony noting that the project is substantially completed at the moment, with but a few loose ends to tie up, and thus making it meet the goals of its funding source â€“ the federal Stimulus Package.
The bridge and accompanying pedestrian plaza are funded by a $20 million federal TIGER grant, which is part of the federal Stimulus Package. The western monumental stair and elevator were funded by a $1 million MassWorks grant.
The bridge spans 107 feet across Ocean Avenue and is a replica of the monumental cable-stayed Zakim Bridge in Boston. Both bridges were designed by the same man, Miguel Rosales, of the Back Bayâ€™s Rosales + Partners.
In addition to the bridge, the Wonderland Transit Center has a new $59.3 million parking garage and new bus terminal, funded in part with $22.7 million in Recovery Act funds, both completed in June 2012. The transit projects complement a planned $500 million privately funded mixed-use transit-oriented development project to revitalize Revereâ€™s waterfront â€“ a project under the auspices of EuroVest, owned by Revereâ€™s Joe DiGangi.
Rizzo said some of the finishing touches that will be put on the bridge in the coming months include granite finishes, an elevator, stainless steel and programmable lighting.
â€œThis bridge will be bathed in blue lighting and will be able to be programmed with other colors to highlight significant occasions,â€ he said. â€œThis bridge and the pedestrian plaza behind it are iconic symbols of the new Revere Beach.â€
The naming of the bridge had taken on a good deal of controversy in Revere as Markeyâ€™s parents were not from Revere, and also due to the fact that the naming was approved on Beacon Hill in an uncharacteristically quiet way.
Many were concerned, some vocally and some in their own quiet way.
However, by the end of the ceremony on Monday, just about everyone in attendance felt it was appropriate and honorable.
â€œIt is very fitting this bridge will stand to memorialize the Markeys â€“ a truly great family,â€ said House Speaker Bob DeLeo during his remarks.
Other notable presences at the ceremony were former Mayor Tom Ambrosino, who spent most of his 12 years in office laying the groundwork and getting the project started. Also, Malden Mayor Gary Christianson was in attendance, former Saugus Town Manager (and Revere Auditor) Andrew Bisignani, State Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein, State Sen. Anthony Petruccelli, as well as several City Councillors and School Committee members.