Federal Realty and City of Somerville Celebrate Opening of Assembly Row’s Somerville Police Substation with Dedication to Former General Manager Russell Anthony Joyner

Russell Joyner, former Boston College football player and General Manager of Assembly Row (2012-2014), spearheaded the on-site police substation facility. He passed away in January 2015 before the substation’s completion. 


SOMERVILLE, MA – On Tuesday, January 12th, dozens gathered from across Somerville to open and dedicate the brand new Assembly Row Somerville Police Substation in memory of Russell Anthony Joyner, former General Manager of Federal Realty’s Assembly Row. Spearheaded and constructed by Federal Realty Investment Trust, the new substation thanks Russ Joyner’s leadership and mission to ensure a safe and prosperous future for Somerville’s newest neighborhood. 


Don Briggs, president of Federal Realty Boston, began the dedication ceremony honoring Joyner in the presence of his family. Briggs recalled the countless relationships Russ Joyner made in his short time at Assembly Row and how he touched the lives of many throughout the Somerville community.  


“He had a great way of putting to words what captured the moment or captured the idea. Whenever a problem sort of came up he said ‘Let’s get out in front of it and call it a parade. We’re going to let everyone know we’re going to embrace this problem and own this problem’”, said Don Briggs, President of Federal Realty. “Russ led his life at the front of the parade. It’s the greatest testimony of who he is. He embraced who he was. He embraced his strengths and weaknesses, and he did what he loved.”


Briggs introduced, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone who addressed the crowd and recognizing those in the community that came together to remember Joyner. Present were Representative Capuano’s chief of staff, State Representative Toomey, Somerville Aldermen Connolly and Rossetti, the Federal Realty Boston team and many other community leaders and activist that were touched by Russ’ commitment to the success of Assembly Row. 


“Russ knew how to engage people, one of the greatest qualities a leader can have is to be a good listener, said Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “There is not a day I don’t think about Russ because he was certainly a compassionate and sympathetic soul, which you need a lot more of these days and he believed in community.”


Somerville Police Department’s Deputy Chief Stephen Carrabino also shared his memories of Joyner, most notably the eight hours to and from New York to attend his funeral service in Joyner’s hometown of the Bronx, New York. There, Deputy Carrabino presented the Joyner family with a Somerville Police Badge to honor and commemorate the effort Joyner showed to ensure Somerville’s new neighborhood would be a safe and prosperous place for families, friends, residents, and workers to enjoy for decades to come. 


“Every time I’m here I think of Russ. See this furniture here, we have it because of Russ. He took care of us, he made sure everything was all right; he made sure everything was alright for everybody,” said Somerville’s Deputy Police Chief David Carrabino. “He was so sincere and he cared so much and I really miss him.”


The ceremony concluded with the unveiling of a memorial plaque in Joyner’s name and the thankful and reminiscent remarks from Brenda and Martina Joyner, his wife and daughter, telling stories of a loving husband and father.


“I still get phone calls and messages from all over the country, all over the world, from people wanting to remember and giving some little quote that he said, and it sticks with us and will stick with us forever because he taught us all a lot about living, about giving back,” said Brenda Joyner. “After he passed I never realized how much and many people he was taking care of.”


The Assembly Row Police Substation will serve as an onsite response center to ensure the Somerville police will be able to respond quickly and immediately to incidents that threaten the safety and enjoyment of the new and ever-evolving neighborhood. Federal Realty paid for construction and build out of the space, and the furniture for the substation space. Officers from the Somerville Police Department will staff the station. 



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