The City of Sarasota commission has voted 4-1 to keep the popular (and controversial) Unconditional Surrender statue on the Sarasota bayfront during construction of the U.S. 41-Gulfstream roundabout project. However, it will be making taking a small trip: the 26-foot-tall statue will be moved to the area between O'Leary's tiki bar and Marina Jack. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Marina Jack's owners have offered to pay the city $15,000 to help with the relocation costs, which are expected to cost the city at least $65,000.
The topic of moving the statue has been a contentious one in recent months, invoking passionate response from those both for and against relocating it. In Sarasota Magazine's informal polls in September, response was overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the statue on the bayfront.
“Leave it down by the waterfront,” wrote one Facebook commenter. “To Sarasota, this statue is special and important.”
However, the reactions weren't all positive: “Replace it with a simple monument by a local artist to those settlers who made Sarasota famous for fishing, growing produce and healing visitors,” another comment reads. And former mayor Kelly Kirschner wrote in this opinion piece that, "When I voted to accept [the statue], the lack of consent between the two individuals depicted in the sculpture was not established fact."
The city says the statue's relocation to the O'Leary's-Marina Jack area will occur by Jan. 15, 2021. We'll keep you posted on any further developments.