More than 100 people turned out Wednesday to honor the 10-year tenure of JP’s Christine Poff as executive director of the Franklin Park Coalition.
Poff stepped down from her longtime post in the fall, but Wednesday’s party marked a homecoming as a roomful of folks who love the city’s largest park celebrated her energy and accomplishments.
“She’s done incredible work as head of the Franklin Park Coalition,” said Mayor Marty Walsh, who brought with him as a gift a reproduction historical map of the mammoth park that connects JP, Roxbury and Dorchester.
Walsh and others cataloged Poff’s series of accomplishments, ranging from reinvigorating youth programs to pushing City Hall to invest in Franklin Park. She saw to the re-invigoration of the Elma Lewis Playhouse in the Park concerts and performances and revived the Kite & Bike Festival, among many other efforts.
“She gives a real face to advocacy for the park,” said Matt O’Malley, JP’s district city councilor, in remarks to the people assembled at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square.
Poff’s replacement, Anita Morson-Matra, termed Poff a “master multi-tasker.”
“It’s an honor to have such a gift in Christine,” said Moron-Matra. “She really is a rare gem.”
That was an opinion shared by John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England. He and Poff worked closely as the Franklin Park Zoo sits on the eastern side of the sprawling park.
“She is the most tireless worker,” said Linehan. “She forever has great ideas and follows through on them. She’s been a great partner [with the Zoo.] I’ll miss her.”
Leslie Moore, a Franklin Park Coalition board member, recalled Poff’s pugnacity when it came to defending the park’s interests.
“Christine is always ready for a fight,” Moore told the crowd, which roared with applause. “She may not be excited about the fight but she is willing to take them on…Christine has been our fearless leader, dragging us into new places.”
Poff remains active in helping around the park.
“It has been a really meaningful job,” Poff told the room. “It’s just so lovely to see all of you, because you’re my people and I miss my people.”