Joe Marino statue returns a little more than a month after being vandalized, police still looking for vandals
Online Staff Report
The Rockford Park District welcomed back a special statue to honor Joe Marino. Inside Joe Marino Park is once again the Joe Marino statue, which was re-installed Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 102 N. Water St., Rockford.
The statue, which celebrates Joe Marino’s 50 years of community service, was vandalized July 22 with yellow automobile paint. July 25, Rockford Park District staff removed the Joe Marino statue, and it was taken to In Bronze, in Mt. Morris, Ill. The Park District contacted the original sculptor, David Seagraves, who recommended the statue be cleaned and restored by the original bronze caster.
The total cost to restore the statue back to its original state and improve the finish is $3,000, which was covered by the Rockford Park District’s insurance. Immediately after the vandalism, the Park District received many calls from concerned citizens and businesses throughout the stateline area wanting to help, either financially or provide ideas about paint removal.
Rockford Park District Deputy Director of Operations Ron Butler said: “I would like to thank the community for the concern expressed to the Rockford Park District in regard to this act of vandalism. We received many suggestions about how to remove the paint, and I’d like to thank those of you that gave monetary donations to the Rockford Park District Foundation to go to an established statue fund. We really took all the necessary steps to make sure the statue restoration was done the right way.”
Anyone wishing to donate to the statue fund can contact Lisa Alexander, Donor Relations coordinator, Rockford Park District Foundation, at (815) 987-1632 or email@example.com.
While the statue was being restored, Rockford Park District Police continued their investigation. Park Police worked with the Rockford Police Department, and the act of vandalism was featured on Rockford Area Crime Stoppers.
The investigation is ongoing; no arrests have been made. Rockford Park District Police Chief Theo Glover encourages anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at (815) 963-7867. A cash reward of up to $1,000 could be offered to anyone with information leading to an arrest.
Joe Marino Park, where the statue stands once again, is a well-lit area, and the statue is surrounded by a low chain-link fence. The statue is now monitored by surveillance cameras.
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