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New Downtown Dayton Monument Honors Public Servants

Former Dayton City Manager, Tim Riordan (left) and Artist Jon Barlow Hudson
Jerry Kenney

There is a new, and perhaps unusual, monument in downtown Dayton. The massive stone sculpture pays tribute to the legacy of public servants living and dead.


The 12,000-pound, rectangular sculpture stands at the corner of 2nd St. and St. Clair in the city's Cooper Park.   

Inscribed around the top of the monument are 13 quotes highlighting the value of public service from notable figures in American history,including John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson and Muhammad Ali.

Former city manager Tim Riordan says his desire to have the monument built began several years ago.

“I knew from my work how passionate public servants were about what they did, and how they wanted to do a good job," he says. "And I wanted to do something that made a statement, that said, ‘hey, thanks.”

The monument is called “The Common Good.” Riordan says it was carved from a single piece of Pennsylvania granite weighing more than six tons.


Along with the inspirational quotes, the sculpture is also designed to be interactive.

Credit Jerry Kenney

Seats on either side on the monument face away from each other but an opening through the middle of the granite allows for communication.


The monument’s creator, world-renowned artist, Jon Barlow Hudson, says the design represents how two people with differing opinions can can come together.


“The stone I’ve had for 20, 25 years," he says. "I just hadn’t found the right project, and so this is just a happy meeting of mutual benefit.”

Hudson has created outdoor sculptures in more than 20 countries and 10 U.S. states.


Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.