NEWPORT BEACH — The life-sized statue of Ronald Reagan has had a tough go of it, even in Newport Beach, a city that reveres the former president as a conservative icon.
A month after its dedication in November 2011 at Bonita Canyon Sports Park, vandals tied a chain around the $60,000 bronze statue and tried to pull it away using a vehicle. Whether the vandals wanted the scrap metal or were trying to make a political statement was never determined.
The city removed the statue, spent $6,500 to repair it and replaced it at the park in February 2012.
On Tuesday, about five years later, Mayor Kevin Muldoon convinced the City Council that the statue should be moved.
“The Reagan statue now sits in a lonely cul-de-sac where it’s been vandalized and neglected,” Muldoon said. “I think this is not fitting of a statue honoring a former president.”
The council agreed, voting 5-1 on Tuesday, April 11, to remove the statue from the park and put it in a new location.
The Arts Commission will make a recommendation as to where, but Muldoon proposed it be placed at Civic Center Park at City Hall and become a permanent part of the city’s rotating sculpture exhibition.
Ten sculptures are rotated through the park every two years, with the current pieces expected to be removed later this year.
The statue issue was paired with another council item to contract with Arts Orange County for $105,731 to manage the third phase of the city’s rotating sculpture exhibits and appropriate $155,731 from Visit Newport Beach for project management and payments to artists.
Councilman Jeff Herdman dissented with that part but expressed approval for the relocation of the statue of the 40th chief executive and former California governor.
“No one wants to go against the Gipper,” Muldoon joked.