3,000 suggestions later, Rizzo statue’s future still in limbo

Police stand guard at the Frank Rizzo statue on the grounds of the Municipal Services Building. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

Police stand guard at the Frank Rizzo statue on the grounds of the Municipal Services Building. (Emma Lee/WHYY, file)

The chance to have your say about what Philadelphia should do with the statue of former Mayor Frank Rizzo is over.

But it will be several weeks until the city decides whether to talk about moving the statue of the controversial figure that’s stood across from City Hall for nearly two decades.

About 3,000 people weighed in online about the Rizzo statue after Mayor Jim Kenney asked for input on whether to move the statue from the steps of the Municipal Services Building, said Lauren Hitt, city spokeswoman.

The ideas sprang from a wide array of opinion.

“I mean they totally ranged,” said Hitt. “Some were funny, some suggested a ‘Lord of the Rings’ type approach where you would melt it down and create rings of power.

“It was really was kind of reflective of the kind of public debate. There were some thoughtful suggestions. There was some incensed rhetoric about not moving it and about the importance of moving it,” she said. “And and then there were some thoughtful in-betweens.”

Critics of Rizzo, who also served as the city’s police commissioner, say he reigned over a corrupt police department and used his power to alienate minorities. His supporters say he was a devout public servant who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.

Officials have not decided whether to request the city’s Art Commission to formally take up the matter, Hitt said.

“We’re reviewing all the different submissions, and, probably in early October, we will decide if we will make a proposal to the art commission to review or in some way alter the statue,” she said.

That could mean adding an explanatory plaque to the 9-foot work honoring Rizzo.

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