Peoria Park Board expresses hesitation with moving forward on replacing Columbus statue with a Greek goddess in Bradley Park
A proposal to place a new statue in Bradley Park remains up in the air.
The Peoria Park District removed a controversial statue of Christopher Columbus from Bradley Park in 2020. West Bluff neighborhood groups want it replaced with a statue of the Greek goddess Hebe.
A similar statue dedicated to the memory of Lydia Moss Bradley's daughter, Laura, sat for decades at the Main Street entrance to the park before it was struck by a car in 1954.
Park District executive director Emily Cahill has said current district policy prevents the usage of public funds for statues or art.
The West Bluff Council and Uplands Residential Association have suggested using proceeds from the sale of the Columbus statue currently in storage to fund a new monument.
Park board trustee Tim Bertschy said the concept before them lacks details, like a quote on how much a Hebe statue would cost.
"What we want is some specifics, so we can make a determination on A, whether a statue should go there; B, who should pay for it; and C, whether that requires modification of our existing policy," he said.
Park board president Robert Johnson opposes a new statue in Bradley Park because it would set a precedent.
"There have been other requests for statues in other parks of different individuals as well, that they asked the park district to pay for," Johnson said. "And I just didn't want to go down that road, to put a statue in every park that we have."
But in a recent WCBU interview, West Bluff Council president Conrad Stinnett noted the park district's current statue policy wasn't adopted until after the Columbus statue's removal.
"If anything is grandfathered in and deserves an exception to the rule, it would be this," he said.
The park board deferred action on granting permission for a new statue until they have a formal proposal before them.