COLUMBIA — They’ve moved the Statue of Liberty — again.
This time, the city of Columbia’s 8-foot tall replica of Lady Liberty has found a place in the lobby of the Gentry Building, which houses the Parks and Recreation Department and the Office of Cultural Affairs.
About 19 times smaller than the landmark that graces New York’s Liberty Island, the copper statue was dedicated to the city on Sept. 23, 1950, by Boy Scout troops as part of the Boy Scouts of America’s 40th anniversary national campaign.
The statue has been moved four times in its 57-year history. The sculpture stood in front of the city’s Howard Municipal Building until 1978, when it was moved to the outside of the Gentry Building, facing Broadway. When both the Gentry and Howard buildings were undergoing renovation in 2005, the replica and its accompanying plaque were cleaned, repaired and restored at a cost of $8,000. The sculpture was then installed temporarily at the Daniel Boone City Building.
Once work on the Howard and Gentry buildings was done, the Office of Cultural Affairs recommended the statue be relocated inside the Gentry Building to preserve its restored look, according to a Nov. 5 report to the Columbia City Council.
Placed outdoors, the statue would be more highly visible, but it would quickly tarnish again. Still, Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku asked for some estimates of maintenance costs if the statue were to be moved outside again.
“The City Council on Monday asked for a report on the associated costs for relocating the statue outside, so we’ll work on that and report back to them,” said Marie Nau Hunter, manager of the Office of Cultural Affairs. “It will probably take us a little time to pull together the estimates on what that will cost,” said Hunter.