CELORON – The Village of Celoron will keep the controversial statue of Lucille Ball in southern Chautauqua County.
During a special work session on Saturday morning, village officials agreed that the best place for the statue is here in Chautauqua County – although they also said that the Lucille Ball Memorial Park may not be the final resting place.
Mayor Scott Schrecengost said the board will be exploring a few options, including the possibility of giving it to the Lucy Desi Comedy Center and Museum or the proposed National Comedy Center. He’s hoping NCC board president Tom Benson will come in and meet with the village when the board holds it next meeting on April 27.
“we’ve got a couple of different offers on the table and we’re going to pursue them,” Schrecengost said. “Trying to work with the National Comedy Center would be one of those options. The other is to keep it in the Celoron area.”
The Lucy Statue – which has gained both national and international notoriety in recent weeks – was created by local artist Dave Poulin in 2008 as part of a real estate transaction, when he agreed to design a state of Lucille Ball in exchange for having his real estate purchase reduced. Once completed, the statue was then donated to the village of Celoron. It’s sat in the park for more than five years with little fanfare, before word of the statue and its unflattering representation of the comedy legend went viral.
Earlier this month producers of the Comedy Central Program @Midnight had come to Celoron and extended to take the statue to Hollywood and have it appear in the same studio where the I Love Lucy show was recorded. In exchange, the TV program would assist with promoting the villages fundraising effort for a new statue. However, during Saturday’s meeting, village officials agreed the statue should remain in the area.
SEEKING HELP FROM THE ARTS COMMUNITY
Schrecengost also said that he will form a committee consisting of local artists and community members to focus on creating a new statue that would replace the existing one.
Schrecengost said the committee will not only work to decide on what the statue will look like, but also who to hire to do the work.
“we definitely need to get a committee together to go through all this artwork that’s been submitted to us and get us on the right track,” Schrcengost said.
Artists interested in serving on the committee should contact the Celoron Village Board at 488-0579.
Of course, the new statute hinges on a fundraising effort by the village, which has a goal of $20,000 by mid July. Schrecengost said that fundraising process has been slow but he’s hopeful more funding will come in as the campaign continues.
“I would just ask all the people that expressed concern over the statue, I wish that if they were really that concerned that they would reach out and give us a small donation of any amount,” Schrecengost said.
HOPING TO MOVE ON TO MORE PRESSING MATTERS
During the meeting, Schrecengost also emphasized that the sooner the village comes up with a plan to address the statue, the sooner it can give its full attention to other matters.
“This statue issue has diverted our attention from other issues that we’ve been working on,” Shrecengost told WRFA. “I felt that this meeting was necessary to provide us with some sort of direction on which way to go with the statue, but I also wanted to update the board that I am moving forward with some of the other projects we are concerned with.”
To make a contribution to help in the creation of a new statue, donations can be sent to the Village of Celoron (P.O. Box 577, Celoron, NY 14720-0577), Five Star Bank or online at www.kickstarter.com, with the project title of “Lucille Ball Tribute Statue, Celoron NY.”