Sculpture planned to honor Jenkins

TROY — Local leaders are organizing a campaign to raise the remaining $30,000 in funds to erect a statue of the late Mayor Peter E. Jenkins to stand watch and welcome everyone to his beloved city.

Miami County Commissioner Ted Mercer is leading the project as a committee chairman and Julie Morrison is serving as vice-chair for the project. The total cost to place the statue is $80,000 with $50,000 already pledged from local organizations. The Troy Foundation recently awarded a $30,000 grant to construct a 6-foot, life-sized sculpture and statue of Jenkins, plus a $10,000 grant from the Duke Foundation and a $10,000 grant from the Robinson Foundation. Mercer said he hopes to unveil the statue next spring.

The sculpture would be located at the Jenkins Gateway Mayor’s Park in Troy. The passive green space park is located at 1611 W. Main St., near the Westbrook neighborhood.

Mercer said efforts to raise the final $30,000 for the “Mayor Pete” memorial sculpture project from private donations are under way. Mercer said he recently viewed the mock-up of the statue, with his wife Ruth Jenkins, and one of their daughters. Mercer said the sculpture features Mayor Pete’s signature suit and tie and features him waving to all residents and visitors off of West Main Street. The bronze sculpture will also have Mayor Pete’s signature “Troy OHIO USA” pin, which he wore daily and, most notably, gave out to thousands of people he met over the years.

Mercer said he began the project last fall to honor Jenkins because “he was a genuine guy, authentic guy.”

“Pete never knew a stranger,” Mercer said. “Pete had an impact on a lot of people … he’d stop and talk to anybody. Pete’s kindness was in his DNA. That was just the type of guy he is and was. I think he’s deserving of it. It’ll be done with all private funds, so no tax dollars are involved, and if people would like to contribute, please do,” Mercer said.

Mike Major of Urbana has been commissioned to construct the bronze sculpture. Major was the artist who also was commissioned to sculpt the “Aviation Pioneers and Heroes” of Clayton Brukner, Robert Hartzell and NASA astronaut Nancy Currie-Gregg Ph.D. The sculpture garden was dedicated on July 24, 2018.

The Troy Foundation has agreed to act as the fiscal manager of all funds and has established the Mayor Peter E. Jenkins Memorial Sculpture Fund.

Jenkins died on Nov. 14, 2018, following a lengthy illness. He was 84 years old.

Jenkins was a graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland and worked for Hobart Brothers for 31 years, including as director of human resources. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Jenkins was a public servant of Troy for 25 years. He served on Troy City Council from Jan. 1, 1978, to Dec. 31, 1981. He served as president of city council from Jan. 1, 1982, to Dec. 31, 1991, and then as mayor from Jan. 1, 1992, until Dec. 31, 2003. He also served on numerous community boards.

Mercer said Jenkins was always Troy’s biggest cheerleader and kind to anyone and everyone he met.

Jenkins was a lifelong resident of Troy and a Troy High School graduate. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Ruth, their children David Jenkins, Mary Jenkins Barker and Julia Jenkins Melle; and five grandchildren.

Mercer said Ruth was excited and honored to have Pete’s memory be memorialized with the statue project.

“She was thrilled and honored,” Mercer said.

Contributions may be mailed to the Troy Foundation with checks payable to the Mayor Peter E. Jenkins Memorial Sculpture Fund to 216 W. Franklin St., Troy, OH 45373. Contributions are tax-deductible.