Park in Washington renamed in honor of late mayor

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, N.C. (WITN) - The city of Washington held a dedication event Friday where they renamed their waterfront park, Mac “Bear” Hodges Festival Park after the former mayor who died of COVID-19.

Hodges died in July of 2020. After being diagnosed with COVID-19, Hodges was placed on a ventilator for several days before dying from the virus.

The family and city officials were in attendance for the dedication. The dedication included the unveiling of a new welcome sign at the edge of the park. In addition to the sign the city dedicated a young oak tree which was planted as a part of Hodges’ streetscape project which widened sidewalks and provided benches, handicap accessible ramps and freshly planted foliage around downtown Washington.

Park Renamed after Former Mayor
Park Renamed after Former Mayor(Deric Rush)

The family and city of Washington both reflected on the memory of the former mayor.

“I had many conversations with him, and he told me he just enjoyed relaxing on his porch and watching the little kiddies play and enjoy themselves. So that brought him joy,” said Mayor Donald Sadler.

When asked about the mayor’s love for East Carolina University’s baseball team, Hodges’s brother Arch Hodges said, “We really enjoyed spending time at the games, and he didn’t miss many of them. If I wanted to see him I had to go to the game with him.”

Linda-Lou Hodges, Hodges’ wife expressed how much she appreciated the embrace she felt from the city of Washington, and how her heart goes out to families around the country who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19.

“I pray for all the people who have lost loved ones. I know your pain. We will get through this. God bless you. During Mac’s sickness, and then when Mac was in the hospital; and even after Mac’s Death, the city’s just kind of basically put their arms around us. It’s just an honor for them to name this park after Mac. I can sit on my porch now and look at the Mayor Mac Hodges Festival Park...and don’t forget the bear!”

Plans have been made by the city to build a swing along the waterfront dedicated to Hodges as a final tribute to the late and former mayor.

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