Chairman of Jonesborough Historic Zoning Commission honored with prestigious, rare award

Jonathan Roberts • May 22, 2020 at 9:00 AM

When William Kennedy found out he would be honored with one of the Tennessee Historical Commission’s most prestigious and rare awards, it helped validate the importance of the work he’s been doing for more than 40 years.

“It’s really exciting,” said Kennedy, chairman of the Jonesborough Historic Zoning Commission. “It’s a recognition of what I’ve considered to be my avocation and passion for the last 40-plus years.”

In the award program’s 45-year history, the Preservation Leadership Award had been awarded just twice before Kennedy was announced as a winner this week. The award recognizes “individual or group achievement toward protecting and enhancing the historic environment,” according to the commission’s website.

Former Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe nominated Kennedy for the award, writing “he has forever impacted the preservation of Tennessee’s Oldest Town in a positive manner with his passion for making sure our historic structures remain intact and well-preserved.”

Kennedy said he was blindsided by the award, but “quite thrilled” to learn of it.

“It’s thrilling to me personally, but also I hope it encourages other people to work just as hard as I have and to be dedicated to the importance of historic preservation,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy said the award recognizes the work being done in Jonesborough as “being very outstanding on a state-wide” level, and illustrates the importance of preserving history.

“I think (history) has a positive effect on our quality of life today, and as we look forward to the future,” he said.

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