A new park is in the works to honor the memory of the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombings, city officials announced on Thursday.
The Fort Point neighborhood park will pay tribute to Martin Richard, the 8-year-old who was one of three people killed in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The city is currently raising funds to finance the public green space, which is scheduled to open in 2017.
“These things don’t happen by accident. We are grateful to all who are involved, working together to turn an idea into reality," Bill Richard, Martin’s father, said in a statement. "The location, next to Children's Museum, is perfect. The design will be something special and will attract children, families, and visitors from around the world.” Bill Richard, his wife and their daughter, Jane, were also injured in the blasts that killed Martin and injured hundreds of others.
The landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has been tapped to imagine the park's design. The firm's previous work includes spaces for the Children's Museum and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Ground will be broken on the park in spring of next year, Boston officials said, adding that the city will also seek creative input from the community to help blueprint its looks and functions.
"Martin's message of peace and love of life serves as an inspiration for all of us," Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in the statement, adding thanks to the Richard family and saying their "strength and commitment to bettering our community exemplifies the spirit of the city."
In September, Bridgewater State University unveiled a life-size sculpture of Martin Richard. The sculpture is based on a heavily circulated photograph of Martin posing with poster he made that reads, "No More Hurting People ... Peace." The school, which is where Bill Richard and his wife, Denise, met, also named The Martin Richard Institute for Social Justice in the boy's honor last spring.