Fixing the badly damaged “Hiker” statue that stood on Memorial Boulevard will likely take at least a few months and cost more than $15,000, officials said Wednesday.
The repairs to the vandalized bronze statue will take “a good two months to do,” said Park Director Ed Swicklas.
But it will also take awhile to figure out where to send the sculpture, official said.
For now, the Spanish-American Ward soldier that vandals mauled last weekend is in storage at Page Park, Swicklas said.
Police have made finding the culprits their number one priority, Mayor Art Ward said.
Ward said that criticism of the police for failing to protect the soldier is misplaced. He said officers can’t be everywhere all the time.
He said that with all the foliage in the area, it’s easy for someone to hide.
Swicklas said that two foundries, one in Bridgeport and one in New York, have taken a look at the pictures of the ransacked statue.
One said it would cost at least $15,000 to fix it, Swicklas said. The other told him it would take “many, many hours and many, many dollars.”
It may help, the park director said, that Bristol has another of the 52 copies of the statue that stand across America. The twin at the entrance to Rockwell Park could be used to make casts of particularly damaged sections so they can be copied, he said.
The parks have seen a spate of vandalism in recent months, including the spray painting of the inside of the pool at Rockwell Park, which was repainted last week in time for its opening Wednesday.
But there hasn’t been much damage lately, officials said, though two soccer nets were swiped at Rockwell Park this week.
Al Cianchetti, a resident who has championed the boulevard, said he wants to see the city “do everything possible” to catch the criminals who damaged the statue.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to catch the scum that did it and charge ‘em,” said Lori DeFillippi, a parks commissioner.
He also urged park officials to take steps to beef up security on the boulevard, including the installation of cameras that might help protect the memorials and monuments that line the historic parkway.
Swicklas said it might be possible to add more lighting in the future that might help keep people from bothering the statue in the future.
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