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Aldermen discuss putting statue of Andrew Jackson in new roundabout

This statue of Andrew Jackson is at the State Capitol in Nashville, TN. Submitted photo

There are currently in this country four statues of Andrew Jackson riding a horse. Alderman Steve Stroder has suggested that the City of Jackson place a fifth statue in the middle of the roundabout that will be constructed on Highway 61 North at Deer-wood Drive. Stroder made his pitch during the Mayor and Board of Aldermen study session June 3.

“It seems to me that we ought to be looking for something that really makes a statement for our city as we approach that main corridor into the city,” said Stroder, addressing the issue of what should be placed in the middle of the proposed roundabout. “We had talked about a sign, and I thought maybe something a little more dynamic might be in order.”

Stroder said his goal is to create some national notoriety for the city, enhance tourism and highlight our proud heritage for the next generation or for the next 100 years.

Stroder did some research and discovered the following:

In 1814, the area now known as Jackson was called Byrdstown. The Missouri Legislature named Byrds-town as the seat of Cape Girardeau County in 1814.

In 1819, the City changed its name to Jackson, after Gen. Andrew Jackson, who later served as a U.S. president (1829-1837). Our city was the first city in the United States to be named after Andrew Jackson.

“If you want to do something that brings those three goals to life, Andrew Jackson seems to be a pretty notable person to highlight,” Stroder said.

Stroder learned there are four statues of Andrew Jackson depicted on a horse, highlighting his Army career during the War of 1812.

“The first statue was erected in 1853 in Washington, D.C., in the presidential garden.

“The second statue was erected in 1856, and it’s in Lafayette Square in New Orleans, where the Battle of New Orleans was won. Andrew Jackson led 4,000 troops in the Battle of New Orleans against 5,300 British soldiers, and won. He was a very prominent figure in defending our country and making our country what it is today.

“The third statue was put at the state capitol in Nashville [TN]. Andrew Jackson was a favorite son of Tennessee, and so they put that statue there.

“The fourth statue was put in Jacksonville, FL, in 1987. These four statues are pretty much all the same,” he said.

The one in Washington is waxed twice a year and the copper looks dark brown. The one in New Orleans is not waxed at all, and appears green with ionization. The other two are waxed once a year and appear a light brown in color.

“I’m proposing that we place the fifth statue of Andrew Jackson in the first city in the United States that adopted his namesake. And we do it in the roundabout. I believe this will accomplish the goals I’m talking about. I think it will drum up some serious notoriety for the city, it will enhance tourism in the city and I think it will be a proud heritage for the next hundred-plus years.”

Where does one go to purchase such a statue? Stroder went to the Internet. He simply Googled “big statues.”

“Believe it or not, there’s a place out West called “Big Statues,” he said. “I talked to the guy, and you can get a statue like this pretty quickly.”

Stroder received a price estimate in four days. It would take seven to nine months to receive the finished statue.

Stroder talked to Jackson Public Works Director Janet Sanders and to Pam Masterson at MoDOT and found the height and width of the project must fit within 30 feet wide and 30 feet high.

The copper statue is 8 feet wide and 12 feet tall, weighing 2,000 pounds. Stroder proposes to build a 42-inch tall rock or brick wall just inside the roundabout. It will be adorned with the words, “Welcome to Jackson” and filled with rock and soil; and have flowers growing. Rising from the center will be a 10-foot tall stone or concrete pedestal upon which the statue will rest.

The total height of the project will be 25 feet, 6 inches tall and the stone wall will have a 30-foot diameter.

There will be a plaque on the pedestal giving a little history about Andrew Jackson.

To draw more attention to the project, Stroder proposes that when the statue is dedicated, a time capsule be placed in a sealed vault behind the plaque, and it will be opened on the 100th anniversary.

The cost of the copper statue is estimated to be $240,000. Shipping and handling will be an additional $25,000. The pedestal and the cost to mount the statue upon it, using a crane, will be about $30,000. The wall and landscaping will be another $30,000. The whole project will cost about $325,000.

Stroder proposes that MoDOT not be responsible for maintenance. Instead, the city’s Street Department would clean the statue and wax it twice a year. Planting and maintenance of the flower beds may be handled by local businesses along Highway 61, Stroder suggested.

Stroder is aware that the cost of the project may seem daunting, but explained, “A project of this nature brings a substantial amount of notoriety to the city. I think it will draw tourism to the city and I think those things would pay for it. I’m anticipating our ROI [return on investment] to be somewhere in the neighborhood of three to four years at most.”

Alderman Katy Liley said she was not sure if a statue is the right solution for the roundabout, but if the city is going to spend that much on a statue, it should invest in real stone and not colored concrete made to look like stone for the wall. “That way if we decide we can’t afford the statue, we will have a really nice wall with ‘Welcome to Jackson’ on it,” she said.

The concept will be presented to MoDOT to make sure it meets their approval and the aldermen will consider the proposal and discuss it further in a future meeting.

The roundabout will not be constructed until next year. It will probably be more than 18 months before work on the middle of the roundabout would begin, suggested Mayor Dwain Hahs. So there is time for more discussion, and the project could possible be budgeted over two years to spread out the cost.

In other action:

• Rumble strips on Greensferry Road: Two residents on Greensferry Road complained about the noise rumble strips were causing as drivers passed over them. The strips were recently installed in an attempt to slow down drivers after other residents complained about the excessive speed of traffic on Greensferry.

Since the rumble strips did not work to reduce speeding, they will be removed this summer as part of the annual asphalt street paving project. Hahs asked if their removal could be done as an early part of the project. In addition, the Jackson Police Department has stepped up patrols in the area, and it has helped alleviate the speeding problem a little, but more patrols were requested by the residents.

• Electric project: Midwest Sterilization has announced an upcoming significant increase in electrical demand which necessitates upgrades to the city’s electrical circuits serving the industrial area adjacent to South Farmington Road. The aldermen approved a $68,000 task order to Allen & Hoshall, Inc., of Memphis, TN, to provide engineering services for this project.

• New retail business: The aldermen approved a memorandum of understanding with Hubbard Enterprises, LLC, of Bonne Terre, relative to providing economic assistance for a new retail business to be located at 2216 E. Main St.

Hubbard will construct a building for a retail business and the City will reimburse Hubbard 2.5% of the actual cost for construction materials up to $35,000.

• Civic Center: The aldermen granted a time extension to Park & Play Structures of MO (from Park Hills) for the Civic Center Playground Equipment Project. The playground equipment is now to be installed by June 30.

In related action, a crosswalk was added by Pavilion No. 9 at the Civic Center and handicapped parking was added as well.

• Fireworks: An addendum to the fireworks contract for July 4 was approved. It established the new ownership of Gladiator Pyro as Rainbow Fireworks Inc.

Previous action (May 20):

• Police station cleaning: The $1,440 per month bid from Clean Slate Cleaning Service, LLC, of Cape Girardeau, was accepted by the aldermen for cleaning the Jackson Police Station. The contract was authorized for three years.

• Water line easement deed: The mayor was authorized to execute a Form 8283 to Rhodes Development Co., LLC, regarding a water line easement deed at 1730 E. Jackson Blvd. A bill was approved accepting the dedication of a water line easement deed from Rhodes Development Co. relative to the Water System Facility Plan Implementation Project – Phase 2, Project 3E.

• Baugh appointed: Carole Baugh was appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission.

• Concrete improvement: A $37,1412.04 change order to Putz Construction, LLC, of Millersville was approved. Because the Putz bid had come in under budget, additional concrete replacement work has been added to the contract at this additional cost, and the entire project still remains under budget.

• Tennis court repair: A $39,985 bid from Gunner Energy Corp. doing business as General Acrylics of Mt. Vernon, IL, was accepted for repairing and replacing Jackson tennis courts. A contract was authorized.

• Commuter parking lot: The aldermen approved an amendment to Chapter 39 of the Code of Ordinances removing mention of a commuter parking lot.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at cashbook@mvp.net.

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