The former executive director of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute [BUEI] has been named runner-up Bostonian of the Year by one of that Massachusetts city’s leading newspapers.
Nancy Brennan, who helmed the East Broadway maritime facility in the late 1990s, has been executive director of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway since 2005.
“She was charged not just with making a park out of the mile-and-a-half ribbon of bald urban land left by the dismantling of the Central Artery,” reports the “Boston Globe” today [Jan 1.]. “She was also asked to create an artery for the city, one that would energise Boston’s waterfront and downtown neighbourhoods and tie the two together.
“Extravagant plans – for a YMCA, an indoor arboretum, an arts and culture centre – were weighed but all collapsed. Brennan had been tasked [to] raise $20 million to kick off the park and to establish relationships with private donors, which she did in less than two years. But then financial markets collapsed and the country sank into recession. At times, it seemed the project was ‘teetering’, Brennan recalls. Some argued that the wall of the Central Artery had been replaced with a pointless, empty, grassy moat.
“Suddenly and quite spectacularly, however, the park hit a tipping point last summer. The number of people using the Greenway jumped 70 percent from 2010, and even the most casual visitor could sense the heightened energy. Instead of focusing on anything grandiose, Brennan oversaw the planning and implementation of myriad small improvements: free Wi-Fi, food trucks and carts, a carousel, tables and chairs, farmers’ markets, outdoor art, extensive plantings. The individual parcels that make up the park were shaped into destinations of their own, each with a unique character, ranging from contemplative to active. It was a winning formula.”
Ms Brennan, daughter of the late US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, came to Bermuda in 1995 after working in museums in Baltimore.
She was runner-up to US Attorney Carmen Ortiz for the “Globe’s” Bostonian of the Year honour. The city’s US attorney, Ms Ortiz has made a formidable reputation for herself targeting corruption and white-collar crime.