The state will likely cover most of the cost of repairing the statue of a Spanish-American War soldier that vandals mauled last month on Memorial Boulevard.
City councilors unanimously agreed Wednesday to seek a $15,000 grant from the state Office of Policy and Management that’s apparently set aside for special projects.
The city would have to chip in $5,000 or more to cover the rest of the anticipated expense, said Park Director Ed Swicklas.
Mayor Art Ward said that the possibility of getting the money was brought to his attention this week by state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat.
“It will help the taxpayers,” the senator said Wednesday.
Swicklas said that he hopes to get the cash in time to have the statue repaired by Veterans Day this fall.
The damaged statue is currently in storage and would need to be sent to a foundry for repairs.
Ward said he’s glad that Colapietro “stepped up to the plate” with the offer to get assistance for the city’s repair bill.
“That’s definitely going to do a lot to expedite the repair of that monument,” Ward said.
Colapietro said that he thought it was “atrocious for something like that to happen” because it violated an important civic space on the boulevard.
As he contemplated it, Colapietro said, “I thought that maybe it was just possible I could help.”
Asking around in Hartford, Colapietro said that he found state Sen. Don Williams, the Senate president, was willing to lend a hand.
“It looks really good” that the state cash will be available, Colapietro said.
“The Hiker” statue is one of 52 bronze casts by Alice Ruggles Kitson made to commemorate the Spanish-American war. The statues show an eight-foot tall “hiker” – a common term for Spanish-American War veterans – dressed in khaki, holding a rifle and looking as if he were resting after a long trek.The one on the boulevard was donated to the city a quarter century ago to honor World War II veterans.
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