New Boston Redevelopment Leader: City On ‘Upswing’
BOSTON — A longtime business and civic leader is in line to take over the reins of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Peter Meade is considered an insider, having worked in and around city and state politics since the 1970s.
When Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced the nomination Tuesday, he said Meade is the “perfect mix,” with his experience in “research and academia, the public sector and the private sector, nonprofits and neighborhood organizations.”
“While there certainly is an ambitious agenda of things that we need to get done, we’re in much better shape than most cities,” Peter Meade said on Morning Edition Wednesday. “As you look at some of the instruments to measure how we’re doing, our population is up, there are several places where we have development projects going, so I think if you look at the curve you’d have to admit, we’re on an upswing.”
Most recently, Meade was president and CEO of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The 66-year-old served in the administration of former Mayor Kevin White, and was executive vice president of health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts for 12 years.
Meade said he’s looking forward to doing work in Roxbury, Dudley Square and the Innovation District in South Boston, as well as the barren Filene’s site at Downtown Crossing.
“I don’t think we can be unreasonable and put anything in the Filene’s hole,” he said. “We don’t want something where we’re walking around five years from now, or even 10 years from now, and say, ‘What did we put there?’ It is important, but we should not do anything foolish.”
Meade is a member of WBUR’s Executive Advisory Board, and has been on the board of many Boston institutions. Meade says he’ll have to step down as chair of the Emerson College Board of Trustees because of Emerson’s stake in the downtown area.
“I have to look clearly and closely with ethics attorneys about my participation in any of the things that I’ve been doing as a citizen,” he said.