A statue of a gorilla, and prime attraction for kids at the Community Park playground in Corsicana was removed by the city.
A spokesperson for the city said some community members found the gorilla offensive – racially insensitive — in some form, and requested its removal from the park.
“We can understand this, because we have an obligation to listen to all our citizens, to determine what is offensive and not, especially in public places,” said Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow.
Denbow saw an uptick in complaints about the playground primate during the last few weeks. There were more and more phone calls, and personal discussions, and he, the city manager and a city council member, decided it needed to come down.
Part of a playful, circus-theme, the man-made gorilla held his ground for 19 years. It was in a cage, since it wasn’t reinforced and could fall over if kids climbed on it.
Most would say he never bothered anyone, giving only joy to children whose imaginations are anything but politically correct.
But now, in his absence, memorials and growing crowds at sit-ins fill the void. A protestor sits in the cage, refusing to move until the gorilla is returned.
But, in a reversal of the knee jerk removal, the gorilla statue will be put back — without the black cage, the mayor told Fox News on Thursday.
The removal of the park’s notable centerpiece caused an uproar among some residents, who said the statue was a key part of the area.
“If they were that sensitive, they would do a whole lot of things like come vote,” Gertrude Richardson, a resident, told FOX4.VIA “If they are really sensitive, they could come to the city commissioners meeting.”
Jenna Burkes said “the gorilla has been there” since she could remember. She recalled how her children remember the park as “the Gorilla Park.”
Denbow said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday the gorilla statue will be placed back in the park with “some modification.” The cage that surrounded the gorilla — which was initially put in place for the children’s safety — will be removed.
“The city has assessed the structural integrity of the gorilla statue and determined with some modification that it can be placed back in the community park for children to play on or around. The cage will be removed. The city has plans to reinstall the statue as soon as weather permits,” Denbow said in a statement, adding that it may happen sometime next week.
The modifications will include adding structural support to the gorilla’s arm to prevent it from toppling.
“When they first put it up 18 years ago, they went and watched kids on it,” Denbow said. “And it would swing back and forth. And this is a piece of art that weighs close to 500 pounds.”
Denbow said it’s been interesting to see the response to the gorilla statue’s removal.
“Never thought that it would cause such a ruckus,” Denbow previously told FOX4.
The city plans to add additional animal statues to make it appear like a “zoo” in the park.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 1st, 2018