“Mary lovingly cradling baby Jesus continues to be an important symbol today, especially with so many assaults on the family and the upheaval in the world. We are hopeful that the sculpture will be a beacon of hope for people in our community,” said Anne Burleigh of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.
Mrs. Burleigh, along with her husband Bill, are founding members of the committee that had the vision for St. Mary’s Park at the northwest corner of Madison Ave. and Martin Luther King Blvd. in Covington, across the street from the Cathedral. Other committee members include Mary Brown, former mayor of Ft. Thomas; Dan Groneck, president US Bank Northern Kentucky; Mark Guilfoyle, partner at DBL Law; and Joan Wurtenberger, architect and senior principal for Champlin Architecture.
“We all share a passion for doing something to commemorate the spirit and importance of St. Mary,” said Mark Guilfoyle. “We believe St. Mary’s Park will provide a place for community members to socialize, pray and share reflections, while commemorating Mary in all her glory,” said Guilfoyle.
St. Mary’s Park will be managed under the auspices of the Cathedral parish but has, to date, been planned and funded by volunteers and community organizations. While the project has continued to develop, the group is currently seeking additional funds in order for the park to be completed. With expectations high, the project is slated for construction in 2016.
St. Mary’s Park will be an urban oasis featuring as its focal point a nine-foot bronze statue of Mary, the Blessed Mother, holding the infant Jesus. Mary will stand on a four-foot stone pedestal in the center of a fountain measuring 24 feet in diameter. The park will be professionally landscaped and will also feature a raised rose garden. “The statue has been cast in bronze at a foundry in Philadelphia and should be finished well before the start of the construction season,” said Dan Groneck. “It will be a world class piece of art,” said Groneck.
Bill and Anne Burleigh conferred with nationally renowned architect Duncan Stroik who recommended artist David Frech, a young accomplished sculptor in Beacon, New York, for the project. Over the last several years, Frech has been sculpting and re-sculpting the statue of Mary and Jesus.
“We’ve learned a lot of physics with this project, it’s been terrific,” said Anne Burleigh. “We talk with the sculptor every week. He is a wonderful sculptor and we are excited about what this park and what this sculpture will mean to the neighborhood and the continued revitalization of our urban core,” said Burleigh.
Mr. Groneck, whose office is five blocks north of the Cathedral on Madison Ave., also sees the park as an aesthetic complement to the “Cathedral Square” and the City of Covington.
“I was excited by the fact that it is going to be in Covington. Covington is experiencing a great economic boom and this project caps that success,” said Groneck. “To me it’s the third leg of the stool for this part of Covington — with the Cathedral at the center, you have the Latin school and you have the Curia Building and this project will complete that. I think it will get more attention than what anyone can anticipate. The fact is it will be a great park,” said Groneck.
For people who live and work in Covington and for the many visitors who are already drawn to the art and architecture of the Cathedral, St. Mary’s Park will offer a place of respite and reflection.
“The park is going to talk to people. They are going to go there and reflect and the park will talk to them,” said Mr. Groneck.
St. Mary’s Park will also enrich and beautify our community. “Recently, John Barrett of Western & Southern Life exhorted the business community to beautify our region,” said Guilfoyle. “This project certainly answers that call and, more importantly, makes a real statement about our community’s values in the face of terror campaigns being waged around the world,” said Guilfoyle.
To learn more or to donate, visit www.saintmaryspark.org.
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