CELORON - Those wishing to see the bronze statue of Lucille Ball, situated at Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, improved upon or replaced may find solace in the village's attempt at fundraising to accomplish just that.
Since it was unveiled to the public in 2009, the statue has received criticism from many people saying, above all else, that the life-size bronze sculpture bears little to no resemblance to its source material - the "I Love Lucy" star. Scott Schrecengost, Celoron mayor, told The Post-Journal that having the statue redone in order to improve its appearance would be a costly procedure.
"It would be a lot of money," Schrecengost said. "Over the past couple of years, I've reached out to (the statue's sculptor) Dave Poulin, and have had at least four conversations with him about redoing the statue. He finally came back and said he wanted $8,000 to $10,000 to do it. I've also reached out to several other sculptors in the region, and some said they would do it, but we're still looking at about $5,000. We'd like to work with the original sculptor, and wish he would stand behind his work enough to step up and fix it for free."
The bronze statue of Lucille Ball, situated at Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron, is being targeted for replacement or a makeover.
Calls placed by The Post-Journal seeking comment from Poulin were not returned Wednesday afternoon.
Schrecengost said he has no intention of using taxpayer money to cover that cost, and has instead considered other avenues of garnering funds. He said the village applied for a grant to have the statue recast, but there was no money available, and the village was denied the grant. However, he said a fund for the project was created recently, and there is a bit of money set aside - but not enough.
A resurgence of the anti-statue sentiments recently came via a Facebook group bearing the name "We Love Lucy! Get Rid of this Statue," which states its intention of having the statue replaced with a new one. Schrecengost said people should be aware that the village is doing what it can to achieve that goal, but there are also more time-sensitive matters to which he must attend.
"I've got so many other things I'm working on in the village. I need to set my priorities," he said. "These people on Facebook need to realize that we're all aware that (the statue) doesn't look like Lucy and needs to be fixed. We're just working on getting the funds to do that."
Poulin was commissioned privately by local residents Mark and Jetta Wilson to create a life-sized bronze statue of the comedy legend, who lived in Celoron for a time. At the statue's 2009 unveiling, Jetta Wilson said they were intrigued by Poulin, who has created more than 100 life-sized bronze figures throughout Jamestown, the United States and the world.
The statue was installed in the park on Aug. 6, 2009, weighs 400 pounds and was created in Poulin's studio on East First Street in Jamestown.