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Councillor Simonelli hosts Lucey Basketball Tourney and Community Day at Miller Park in Ward 7

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Over 200 turn out from across the city for basketball, snacks and good times on Saturday


By Steve Freker


Like everyone around the city, Ward 7 Councillor Chris Simonelli remembers what it was like in this community in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. That was his driving force in organizing what has been a collection of successful and well-attended outdoor events and activities this summer that have been popular attractions for both Ward 7 residents as well as others from around the city of Malden.

Whether it has been the establishment of a new community garden at Suffolk Manor to nights at Kierstead Park for youth baseball, or checking out the many who utilize the community skate park which bears his name on Willow Street, Simonelli has had one primary goal in mind. “We want to get people out of the house, outdoors at Lincoln Commons, down at one of the parks or just anywhere out in the neighborhood,” Councillor Simonelli said Saturday at still another event, this time at Miller Park on Harvard Street, in the heart of Ward 7. “We want our residents outdoors and interacting with their neighbors and other Malden residents from around the city.”

“That is how you help build the community, that is how you change the culture and restore a sense of togetherness which has been lacking since COVID-19, both in Ward 7 and in our city in general,” Simonelli added.

Simonelli had led drives, in collaboration with city officials and the office of Mayor Gary Christenson, to beautify the area in and around Lincoln Commons and other parts of Ward 7, as well as reintroduce the presence of Malden Police Department community resource patrol officers to the neighborhood.

Ward 7 was also the scene for the widely attended annual Fourth of July celebration as well as the host for other events coordinated by Malden groups, such as Malden Overcoming Addiction (MOA), and a Ward 7 Juneteenth Celebration.

On Saturday, Ward 7 was abuzz with activity in the form of a Community Day at Miller Park, which basically had it all: music, sno-cones, popcorn and pizza, as well as 3-on-3 Basketball and a Free Throw Shooting Contest for the kids as well as plenty of smiles and good times for all ages. One of the main events was the Greg Lucey 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, which was coordinated in collaboration with Malden Recreation at the basketball court. Former Malden City Clerk and Councillor-at-Large Greg Lucey – for whom the event is named – threw up the first tipoff, much to the delight of the 6th, 7th and 8th graders who took part. The kids in the next younger grades (4-5-6) participated in a lively Free Throw Shooting Contest coordinated by Malden Rec longtime volunteer and former MHS Principal and Ward 5 Councillor Dana Brown. Both events were overseen by Malden Rec and a slew of youth workers and volunteers.

The Lucey Tournament is usually held as part of the Ward 1 and Ward 2 joint Fourth of July Eve celebration at Green Street Park, but since it was postponed due to inclement weather on July 3, Councillor Simonelli said he was happy to accommodate a move of the event to the Miller Park Community Day on Saturday. Ward 2 Councillor Paul Condon and Ward 1 Councillor Peg Crowe were both on hand and addressed those in attendance Saturday, thanking them for coming and helping to make it a great day. Others in attendance included Malden state Reps. Steve Ultrino and Paul Donato as well as City Council President Barbara Murphy (Ward 5), Malden School Committee Ward 7 Member Keith Bernard, School Committee Vice Chairperson Jennifer Spadafora (Ward 3) and Ward 2 School Committee Member Robert McCarthy Jr., among others.

“It was a great day for everyone involved,” Councillor Simonelli said. “I want to thank everyone who helped, including members of my Ward 7 team as well as the Councillors and volunteers from other Wards, Joe Levine and Malden Rec and other city officials who helped make this possible.”

“Also, there is more to come, the summer’s not quite over and we have more plans for some activities in the fall to keep our Ward 7 residents out interacting with others in our neighborhood,” Simonelli said.

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