Nearly a year after city officials agreed to remove a statue of controversial former mayor Frank Rizzo, Mayor Jim Kenney announced this week that it will be years before that happens.
Kenney told WHYY that he had other things to worry about, like poverty and opioid abuse, and said the statue is “last on my list.”
He added that the statue will likely be moved in two to three years, and disclosed to the news station that he’d like it to coincide with the Thomas Paine Plaza’s renovation, so as not to incur additional costs.
Rizzo, who served as police commissioner in the 1960s, and mayor in the 1970s, is well known as a polarizing symbol in the city. While he’s beloved among some groups, others say he engaged in police brutality and discrimination, especially against African American Philadelphians.
Though some have opposed the statue’s place in Center City for years, protests in Charlottesville last summer over confederate statues, brought the issue of the Rizzo statue to the forefront.
Council member Helen Gym tweeted about the statue first.
All around the country, we're fighting to remove the monuments to slavery & racism. Philly, we have work to do. Take the Rizzo statue down.— Helen Gym (@HelenGymAtLarge) August 14, 2017
That was followed by a public comment process last summer, which received nearly 4,000 submissions with ideas about the statue’s future.
In November, city managing director Michael DiBerardinis, said the city had decided to move the statue to another, undecided, location, following public outcry.