Council, Lions Club commit to fund statue of city namesake
In a new century, Eudora Fish might appear again in Eudora.
This time the daughter of Shawnee Chief Paschal Fish, for whom the city was named, could be more than seven feet tall and have a bronzed body.
The possibility gained support from the Eudora City Council during Monday night's meeting.
Lions Club member Tom Tucker proposed the possibility of the statue to the council.
"As a club we have considered the possibility of taking the lead in creating a very special statue for the city's anniversary," Tucker said.
The goal of the Lions Club is to unveil the statue during CPA weekend, which will coincide with Eudora's sesquicentennial celebration in 2007.
A previous city council heard the proposal and took no action; this time the council acted.
The council voted unanimously to match funding for the statue with the Lions Club, and help participate in an array of fund-raising possibilities to make Eudora's homecoming a reality.
Although the project gained an initial wave of support, it's running against a clock.
"It's challenging, but doable," Tucker said.
According to the Lions Club research, the cost of a seven-foot-tall bronze statue could cost the city between $40,000 to $45,000.
With base and illumination the total project could reach $60,000.
The Lions Club also looked into a smaller statue for closer to $12,000.
"We believe a life-size or a slightly larger than life-size could become a major landmark for this city," Tucker said.
Tucker said the Lions Club has considered multiple spots for the statue once it's finished.
"The desired location for this statue would be the CPA Park in front of the police station," Tucker said.
During research, Lions Club members identified two possible artists in a Colorado sculptor and Lawrence resident Jim Brothers.
Brothers created a statue in front of the Lawrence City Hall and is the only surviving sculptor to have a piece displayed in the capitol rotunda.
He sculpted the likeness of Dwight Eisenhower.
"He's incredible. It's so good. We went to see his studio a week ago Friday," Tucker said.
Tucker presented the council with a ange of fund-raising options from selling bricks to bringing in a country music show.
The possibility drew other citizens to offer input.
"An idea that was brought up to me was maybe make like a small statue and sell those," Matt Montgomery said.
The statue would be a replica of Eudora and have a phrase saying how purchasing it helped fund the larger statue, Montgomery said.
Montgomery, who owns DC Custom Crafted Cycles, offered to look into hosting motorcycle rides or concerts for up-and-coming bands.
Tucker raised the possibility of also having an auction to bring in funds.
"There's just a lot of things that can be done and we just have to be reasonable and just decide what will raise the most amount of money the quickest," Tucker said.
During a question period, Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem asked Tucker where exactly in CPA Park the statue would best fit.
"My only concern is CPA weekend when the carnival crew is in there with all their trailers," Dahlem said. "I'd really hate to see that thing getting backed into."
Originally, Tucker said he envisioned the statue in the northeastern corner of the park, but if it became an issue, the statue could be protected by barrels or could be placed in the southeast corner of the park.
The city and Lions Club might face a problem of crafting a true likeness of Princess Eudora.
The only known photo, published in a 1976 bicentennial book by the Eudora Historical Society, doesn't offer a clear view of the Indian princess.
"It's probably not the best photo you can ask for doing a statue," Tucker said. "So, we might have to ask for some interpretation from the artist."
City Administrator Cheryl Beatty informed the council it couldn't commit next year's fund for the project, but could pay for it out of a little-touched park improvement fund.
"They're going to need some funding right now," Beatty said.
If the cost didn't affect the overall budget, Councilman Bill Whitten said he was for the project.
"I don't see why we can't look into it," Whitten said.
Whitten supported the city's involvement in various upcoming fund-raisers.
Councilman Scott Hopson said he was for the statue when it was first presented several years ago, and still is.
He urged the city to find a way to pay for the statue.
"I don't care if we have to pick up aluminum cans off the highway, we can find it,"