STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, DEC. 14, 2010….Gov. Deval Patrick will a host a “scaled down” inaugural celebration next month, planning a far less lavish celebration than four years ago when he takes the oath of office in January for a second term in the midst of a slowly rebounding economy.
Patrick, who in 2007 became the first African-American governor of the Commonwealth, announced plans for his inauguration Tuesday at Faneuil Hall, laying out a series of events with a focus on community service that he said will be the hallmark of his second term.
“Throughout the next four years, we pledged to work closely with the private sector, with our schools, with our community centers and non-profits as well as others in the public sector to tap the civic energy and creativity that we know is out there to confront the challenges that face us all,” Patrick said. “Renewing that call to service is central to our second administration and therefore central to our inauguration itself.”
After winning election in 2006, Patrick staged an elaborate inaugural celebration with events scattered throughout the state over five days and an outdoor speech on the State House steps that attracted thousands to Boston Common.
This year’s event will center around his oath of office in the chamber of the House of Representatives on Jan. 6, followed by reception that Thursday night at the Boston Public Library and a day of community service – dubbed “Project 351” - two days later in Boston.
“Everything about this inauguration is scaled down from the last time in keeping with the times,” Patrick said.
David O’Brien, the executive director of the inaugural committee, said the festivities would likely cost “easily” less than $500,000, probably closer to $300,000.
The celebration will paid for through ticket sales and corporate donors, though O’Brien said he would not release the list of sponsors until before the inauguration, when the donations are finalized.
The governor’s 2007 inauguration cost over $1 million to stage.
Both Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray plan to attend an interfaith prayer service at the Old South Church on Boylston Street the morning of the inauguration, followed by the swearing-in ceremony in the House chamber, an open house at the State House for the public, and the night-time celebration at the library. Patrick said the library reception “won’t be quite as fancy” as the galas of 2007.
Tickets for the inaugural night celebration at the library are open to the public and available for purchase online for $50 apiece at www.project351.com. The library has a capacity of about 2,000 to 2,500 guests, according to organizers.
Patrick and Murray discussed their plans in the Great Hall at Boston’s Faneuil Hall, flanked by members of Boston’s pro sports community, including Red Sox executive vice president Sam Kennedy, Bruins President Cam Neely, Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Patriots players Vince Wilfork, Kevin Faulk and Patrick Chung.
The teams are collaborating with Patrick and Murray on “Project 351,” a community service project tied to the inaugural festivities that will invite one eighth grader from every city and town in Massachusetts to Boston for a day of service.
The youth will participate in a town hall meeting on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 8 in Boston with First Lady Diane Patrick before fanning out across the city for a variety of service projects.
“I think it’s all about leadership and giving back, so what Gov. Deval and his administration is doing I think that’s what we’re here for. As a New England Patriots team and an organization, we want to give back and the leadership they’re showing as a government is sticking out right now,” said Faulk, a running back on the Patriots.
Two of the students participating in Project 351 attended the announcement: Shannon Keith, from the Sacred Heart School in Roslindale, and Matthew Cappucci, from Plymouth South Middle School.
“We need someone like this in the community that’s going to make an impact and as a New England organization, we support that,” Wilfork said, referring to Patrick, before joking that he had to go back to focusing on the team’s game Sunday against Green Bay.