The city of Hagerstown is moving forward in building its 22nd park. The Thomas Kennedy Park will memorialize an important Washington County politician from the 1800’s.
“Together we will ensure that Thomas Kennedy’s proud legacy and the role that he played in expanding religious freedom in Maryland will never be forgotten,” said Governor Larry Hogan who was in attendance for the groundbreaking ceremony held Wednesday.
The $330,000 project will be built on Baltimore Street in Hagerstown.
It will have a be a 30 foot plaza and a giant statue in the middle of Thomas Kennedy, a former Maryland legislator in the 1800’s who fought for an end to religious discrimination.
“[Kennedy] found out that non-Christians couldn’t hold public office so he introduced legislation that became known as the “Jew Bill,” explained Tom Riford, the executive director of the Thomas Kennedy Center. “It finally passed after an 8-year struggle and that’s why Maryland is the ‘free state,'” he said.
The sculptor of the 10-foot statue of Kennedy explained his inspiration behind the artwork.
“[I was] thinking about faith and how we represent faith. [Kennedy’s] head is bowed and his hands are clasped, he appears to be humble,” said Toby Mendez, the sculptor.
Governor Larry Hogan says that the impact of Thomas Kennedy can still be seen in Maryland government today.
“We have people of every race and every religion and every description and it makes a big difference. It’s wonderful we have a very diverse and inclusive group and it’s …a great part of our democracy,” said Governor Hogan.
The Thomas Kennedy project is expected to be completed in the Fall 2018.