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Philly wants your ideas for the Rizzo statue’s future

Got an idea? Tell it to the city

The city wants to hear the public’s ideas for the future of the Rizzo statue.
Photo by Melissa Romero

Given all of the recent debates and protests surrounding the Frank L. Rizzo statue in Center City, the City of Philadelphia has decided that it’s time to officially collect everyone’s thoughts on the matter.

The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy wants people to share their ideas for the future of the Rizzo statue, which is a monument to the late mayor. The call for ideas states:

In response to recent public conversation around the Frank L. Rizzo monument and its location in front of the Municipal Services Building, the City wants you to share your ideas for the statue’s future. All Philadelphians are welcome to submit their ideas.

The call comes after nearly two weeks of city-wide debates about the bronze statue, which has stood outside the Municipal Services Building since 1998. While Rizzo is beloved among some, his tenure as police commissioner and then mayor was also marked by his tough tactics, especially against African Americans and the LGBTQ community.

The call for the removal of his statue has surfaced multiple times over the years, and most recently resurfaced last week after the violent riots occurred in Charlottesville. Similar debates and protests have taken place throughout the country, though many are over Confederate monuments and statues.

In a Curbed Philly poll, 48 percent called to remove the Rizzo statue, while 45 percent said that it should stay.

According to a statement from Mayor Jim Kenney’s office, the public’s submissions will be reviewed by a “diverse representatives” from the City’s Office of Arts Culture and Creative Economy, Department of Public Property, Managing Director’s Office, Department of Parks and Recreation and the Mayor’s Office.

Following that review, the city will make a decision in late September whether or not to initiate the city’s policy for removing, relocating or deaccessioning public art. The public will be able to weigh in during this time, too.

The deadline to submit your ideas is September 15, 2017.