Editorial: A bridge from Worcester’s past to its future

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft capped the Tuesday, Dec. 8, dedication of the Myra Hiatt Kraft Memorial Footbridge at Elm Park by announcing donations of $100,000 to Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Worcester Technical High School.

The day was a fitting tribute to the late Myra Kraft, daughter of famous Worcester businessman and philanthropist Jacob Hiatt and wife of Robert, who made building bridges her life’s work as a community leader and humanitarian.

In a larger sense, a much larger sense, yesterday’s ceremony was a celebration of that which represents the best of Worcester: collaboration, education, hard work, philanthropy, investment and quality of life.

As speaker after speaker thanked those who helped make the project a reality, one was struck by the just how the city can pull together the public sector, civic leaders, business leaders, professors, teachers, students and the giving community when needed.

WPI students designed the bridge and Worcester Tech students built the bridge for the benefit of the people of Worcester. A more fitting partnership of secondary education and higher education is hard to imagine.

From conception to dedication, the project came to fruition because people of varied skills and backgrounds worked hard to fulfill each one’s mission. It brings to mind a line from Kraft’s coach, Bill Belichick, “Do your job.”

It was noted how the design of the bridge in the crown jewel of Worcester’s parks system had to be high enough to allow ice skaters underneath but low enough to allow the maximum number of people to cross it without posing hardship. Striving for inclusion, combining the functional and the aesthetic in a public place enhances quality of life.

The Rotary Club of Worcester raised and donated $50,000 for the design and construction of the bridge, once again proving the key role the giving community has in Worcester’s civic life.

Kraft called his dual $100,000 donations investments rather than gifts. At Worcester Tech, the money will go to replace old machinery on which student learn; at WPI, a scholarship fund. It continues a long, generous history of investing in the future through donations to the Worcester Public Schools and institutions of higher education.

As bridges go, one that spans Worcester’s past to Worcester’s future is special, indeed.

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