The statue honoring Frank L. Rizzo, the controversial former Philadelphia police commissioner and mayor, will remain on its Center City steps until at least June 2021, the mayor’s office has said.
Mayor Jim Kenney announced in 2017 that the 2,000-pound, 10-foot-tall bronze statue outside the Municipal Services Building would be moved to a new location after residents protested over Rizzo’s controversial politics and heavy-handed police tactics aimed at minorities. That decision came amid a national debate about monuments following violent protests over the planned removal of a statue memorializing Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va.
The Rizzo statue’s move will now occur between June and September 2021 to align with the reconstruction of Thomas Paine Plaza, according to Kenney’s office and as originally reported by the Philadelphia Tribune.
Removing and identifying a new location for the statue will cost more than $100,000, and costs to reinstall it will depend on site selection. The new site has not been chosen but will be somewhere in South Philly, the mayor’s office said.
The overall revamping of Paine Plaza, which includes LOVE Park and Dilworth Park, is expected to cost more than $10M.
“City employees have been conducting site visits to identify a new location for the Rizzo statue. Several sites in South Philadelphia are still being considered,” said Kelly Cofrancisco, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office. “We will soon begin to engage neighbors and community organizations to determine both the connection between Mayor Rizzo and the neighborhood, as well as the community’s level of support to house the statue.”
Once a site is selected — based on its public accessibility and ability to hold the heavy statue — the city will “present a proposal for removal and relocation to the Art Commission, which will occur closer to the start of the forthcoming renovations of Paine Plaza.”
South Philadelphia is also home to a mural of the former mayor, which has been frequently targeted by vandals.