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The future of an embattled Sarasota statue remains undecided – despite what a local lawmaker says.
Congressman Vern Buchanan tweeted Tuesday that City Manager Tom Barwin told him that the sculpture, called “Unconditional Surrender,” would remain near Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota.
But the city replied with a tweet of its own Wednesday saying that Barwin had shared with Buchanan “what is likely to occur” based on public feedback they’re receiving.
In addition, any decision on the relocation must be made by the City Commission – and no date for such a vote has been set.
The city also said it will release an online public survey in the next two to three days days asking about relocation of the 25-foot statue, which must be moved temporarily due to construction of the US 41-Gulfstream Ave. roundabout next year. The work is scheduled to begin in January and is expected to take about 18 months to complete.
The city has selected nine potential new sites for the statue, which is based on an iconic Alfred Eisenstaedt photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse during a celebration in New York’s Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945, “V-J Day,” marking the end of World War II.
While supporters say it’s a symbol honoring those who fought in the war, others say it depicts an act considered today to be sexual assault. History has since revealed the two people depicted did not know each other and the kiss was unexpected.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported last month that the Sarasota Public Art Committee recommended that the sculpture be permanently moved about four miles from its current location to the Sarasota Sahib Shriners’ campus.
Additional information courtesy Cathy Carter.