Greendale opts for Norman Rockwell statue
Trustees decide to accept Reiman's gift of Rockwell statue
Greendale - A lifelike statue of Norman Rockwell will stand near the corner of Broad Street and Northway after the Village Board decided to approve the project, 5-1.
Village President John Hermes cast the lone vote in opposition July 5. Trustee Carl Genz was absent.
Trustees went against the advice of the Plan Commission, which shot down the idea, 6-1 in June.
During debate about the statue, Roy Reiman, owner of the Grandhaven property management firm and founder of Reiman Publications, stated his case in support of the statue of the painter and illustrator famous for depicting wholesome scenes of mainstream American culture.
"This statue could greatly generate traffic into the city of Greendale," Reiman said. "This would give the city a 'gotta see' and would bring in new and repeating customers."
The 4-foot-tall statue of Rockwell painting a picture of Greendale will be privately funded and built by Grandhaven. Reiman said the statue will help bring more bus tours into Greendale, which have decreased over the past few years.
"This is a fun idea, and we need the fun here in Greendale," Reiman said. "We need to not take ourselves so seriously."
Is 'Rockwell-like' enough?
Reiman said he was shocked when the Plan Commission shot the idea down, saying he had no idea that anyone could think the statue would diminish the integrity and nostalgia of downtown Greendale.
Two of the main concerns of commissioners were safety and relevance.
Commissioners said they feel it would be a safety hazard and a distraction to drivers at the intersection; 5-year-old Ava Zimmerman was hit and killed in 2010 near the location.
The lifelike statue would be on village property, which was also of concern to commissioners and trustees. Hermes said it should be on Grandhaven property.
Finally, Rockwell is of no historical significance to Greendale.
"We've been marketed as a 'Norman Rockwell-like town,' but Norman did not live here, he was not born here and he did not die here," Hermes said. "I can't support this statue on public property for the future of this community. It just does not have the historical significance to Greendale."
Reiman gets kudos for gifts
Hermes said he felt that a Roy Reiman statue would be more valued, as Reiman was responsible for bring life back into Greendale 15 years ago.
The trustees, however, sided with Reiman himself.
"People will want to come and see this (Rockwell statue)," Trustee Ronald Barbian said. "It's a neat gift, and we should be happy to have it placed here."
The next step for the project is altering the parking lot to accommodate the statue. The lot, which was rescheduled to be repaved, will lose one parking spot because of the statue.
There is no estimated date of completion for the statue yet.
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