Council OKs financial help to repair Iwo Jima statue
Cape Coral City Council unanimously approved financial help to repair the Iwo Jima statue at Eco Park on Monday.
The statue, which has become an unofficial symbol of the city, has fallen into serious disrepair over the years, to the point that the statue is actually starting to crumble.
While the full cost of repair is unknown, the city was being asked to commit roughly $35,000, according to former Mayor Eric Feichthaler.
“We’re asking the city to make that commitment,” Feichthaler said. “This is a very small investment that will pay dividends … we still have people living in this city who served in World War II.”
Feichthaler was one of several people, including former Mayor Arnold Kempe, who petitioned council to help support the rehabilitation project.
Commandant George Colum from the Marine Corp League said that while the repair of the statue is crucial, it is also important to continually maintain it once repaired.
Colum said the statue used to be set in the Rose Garden and was in good repair until roughly 1970, when it was vandalized.
The statue is only one of three condensed copies of the original at Arlington Cemetery, with the other two placed at Qauntico, Va., and on Parris Island, South Carolina.
Colum added that the statue is for everyone, not just the Marine Corp.
“It’s a statue for all that served in World War II,” Colum said.
There is some relief coming from the community. The Craig Fuller family has established a fund with the Cape Coral Community Foundation with a balance of more than $48,000, according to documentation released by the city. A fund has also been established by Boots Tolles to maintain the statue once it’s repaired, making a $5,000 donation, according to Parks and Recreation Director Steve Pohlman.
While it’s still unclear how much of a difference the city will have to make up, but whatever the figure might be, it has the full support of city council.
“This is one thing that really makes our community special,” said Councilmember Kevin McGrail. “Maintenance is critical so it doesn’t reach this point again.”
Mayor John Sullivan said he’d like the statue to one day be protected in some kind of climate controlled atmosphere to preserve it for future generations.
“I want this monument to be put inside somewhere with a controlled atmosphere,” Sullivan said. “If we continue with the way its been going, it may only last 50 years, it may last 100 years … but its very limited.