Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from the LA Times

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

$50,000 Ronald Reagan statue might be a bit too much for Orange County park

March 28, 2011 |  1:42 pm

a young girl from Newport Beach running in the grass during an event at Castaways Park in May, 2010

Ronald Reagan has an airport named in his honor in Washington D.C., but some of his supporters are having a hard time getting a statue of the former president erected in a park in Newport Beach.

The Newport Beach city attorney, David Hunt, said in a council meeting last week that the city manager would have to decide whether the proposed statue violated a 25-year-old regulation written to ensure that the park remained "a natural setting with unobtrusive additions."

"The question is whether or not the placement of the statute … is what one would call 'unobtrusive,' " he said during Tuesday's City Council meeting. "It really depends on what's going to be recommended -- where it's going to go, what size it's going to be, what's the ultimate position."

The $50,000 statue, conceived to celebrate Reagan's 100th birthday, was funded privately through donations.

For a while, it was believed that the statue would be placed at the future Newport Beach Civic Center, but in February the council voted 5-2 to allow the city manager, with guidance from various groups, to choose the sculptor and its location within Castaways Park.

Some are recommending that the Reagan statue, and other monuments, including an existing statue honoring fallen Marines, be placed in the Back Bay View Park instead of at Castaways.

Councilman Keith Curry, who led the commission for the Reagan statue, not only believes that the statue is unobtrusive but also says the plan to put the monument at Back Bay View Park isn't wise.

"The idea is to not look at the statue at 50 mph," Curry said, noting that Castaways Park has parking facilities though the other park does not.

Correction: A previous version of this post said that President Reagan had an airport named after him in Orange County, CA, Reagan National Airport is in Washington D.C.

-- Tony Pierce

Photo: A girl at Castaways Park in May 2010. Credit: Mark Dustin / Daily Pilot