Four members of the Louisville Metro Council have proposed to name the new downtown Ohio River bridge in honor of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani.
The councilmen — Rick Blackwell (District 12), Kelly Downard (District 16), Kevin Kramer (District 11) and Steve Magre (District 10) — are graduates of Bellarmine University, which is home to The Thomas Merton Center. The center houses the famed monk’s papers and artifacts.
In their proposal to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Metro Council members cited Pope Francis’ recent address to Congress, which celebrated Merton — along with Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day — as a “promoter of peace between peoples and religions” and as “a man of dialogue.”
“Dialogue builds bridges. Surely now is the moment for Louisville to embrace this great American by naming a prominent structure in Merton’s honor,” the proposal said.
As of noon on Nov. 4, 1,421 supporters had signed the online petition — 1,500 signatures are needed to formally petition the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.