After months of protests, debate, and discussions, the City of Philadelphia decided that it will remove the Rizzo statue from its current location at Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City.
Its new location has not been announced.
“We carefully reviewed and considered everyone’s viewpoints and we have come to the decision that the Rizzo statue will be moved to a different location,” said city managing director Michael DiBerardinis in a statement. “This decision comes at a time when we have begun the preliminary stages of planning to re-envision Paine Plaza as a new type of inviting and engaging public space.”
The city made the announcement today, weeks after it asked residents to weigh in on the future of the Frank L. Rizzo Monument through a public comment session. Calls to remove the monument, which honors former Mayor Rizzo, came in the days after the violent protests that occurred in Charlottesville this summer over Confederate statues.
While Rizzo is beloved among some in Philadelphia, his tenure as police commissioner and then mayor was also marked by his tough tactics, especially against African Americans and the LGBTQ community.
The city received nearly 4,000 submissions during the public comment process, with people offering ideas, opinions, and suggestions for the statue’s future.
Kelly Lee, chief cultural officer, added that the city will use the feedback it received and look into some of the suggested locations for the monument. This process will take about six months give or take, and then the proposal will go to the Art Commission for approval.
As for Thomas Paine Plaza, DiBerardinis said, “We are working to plan and create a public space more in line with neighboring Dilworth Plaza and the soon-to-be unveiled Love Park.”
That process won’t begin until next year. But a temporary transformation will take place in summer 2018, when the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society brings a 2,000-square-foot urban farm to the plaza.