Roslindale Neighbors: Community center renamed in honor of Mayor Menino

Roslindale has recently honored the outgoing mayor by officially renaming the Boston Centers for Youth & Families Archdale Community Center to the BCYF Thomas M. Menino Community Center. As a city councilor more than 20 years ago, Menino got the long-shuttered center reopened at 125 Brookway Road.

The official name-changing ceremony on July 29 took place in conjunction with the reopening of the center after a seven-month renovation. Nearly $1 million went into the renovation, including a new gym floor, painting, a new roof, air conditioning upgrades, installation of a rock wall and more.

The center opened in 1973, but closed six months later due to mismanagement, staffing issues and security problems. Menino’s early political career as a city councilor is often remembered by the victory of providing funding from the City’s capital plan to reopen the center in 1991 after it had been closed for 16 years.

At the time, it didn’t even really have a name.

“We called it the gym,” said Johnson. “When they rehabbed it and put it under the umbrella of community schools, that’s when it really began to shine.”

“Mayor Menino’s history [at the community center] is outstanding. He gave so much effort to creating, upholding, and maintaining this center that we feel honored to be able to give it his name,” said Cynthia Johnson, administrative coordinator of the community center.

Today, the center offers a myriad of programs to the community, such as rock climbing, women’s volleyball, computer programming, help doing science projects, karate and after-school tutoring in science and math for children ages 5-17. In the future, the center’s staff hopes to be able to offer more adult programming.

The center recently set up a program of community service to in honor of Menino.              “We were a group of single mothers who didn’t know how to help ourselves or anyone around here,” said Johnson of the group Archdale Tenants on the Move (ATOM) in the early ’90s. “He didn’t hand us anything, he showed us how to [start the community center] and how to help our community and be a part of it.”

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