Fundraising has been completed for the design and construction of public art in a prominent St. Paul riverfront setting to honor the career and values of a one-of-a-kind civic leader.
Larry Cohen’s successors in city, county and judicial roles gathered Tuesday, a year after he died, for the announcement that a $150,000 check from the Otto Bremer Trust means a goal of $425,000 has been met.
Major gifts also came from the Cohen family, from St. Paul and Ramsey County, and from the St. Paul and F.R. Bigelow foundations. Construction will be done by 2018.
The project represents a reboot for what is now a flagpole-and-flowers public space outside the combined St. Paul City Hall and Ramsey County Courthouse.
Brian Lipschultz, co-CEO and trustee of the St. Paul-based Bremer Trust, called the Judge Larry Cohen Recognition Project “a fitting tribute to an honorable man.”
Starting in 1970, Cohen achieved the singular feat of serving at different times as chairman of the Ramsey County Board, mayor of St. Paul and chief judge of the Ramsey County District Court. He died in September 2016 at the age of 83.
But what meant the most, speakers emphasized, were the values he embodied and the progress he achieved regarding women, minorities, immigrants and those with disabilities.
Cohen was remembered for having led the drive to create Landmark Center and for numerous achievements in the diversity realm, including affirmative action programs and court interpreter certification.