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Base for Batavia statue to be clad in granite

Published: Friday, March 22, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

BATAVIA – Last year, the “Self-Made Man” statue in Batavia was damaged and knocked off its pedestal.

When it is reinstalled, its base will be in clad in the same granite that was used for the North River Street streetscape project.

Batavia aldermen Monday voted to approve a $22,000 contract with the contractor, Cleveland Marble, to clad the base in granite.

City engineer Noel Basquin said because there are enough funds in the contingency for the North River Street project, it will not require additional funds from the tax increment financing account for the project.

“I do feel that granite is the right choice for the longevity of North River Street,” 7th Ward Alderman Dawn Tenuta said.

First Ward Alderman Michael O’Brien agreed.

“Granite will hold off the effects from salt,” he said.

The statue’s sculptor also said using granite would enhance the piece and make it seem like it was part of the street and permanent.

The stature will be relocated to the west side of the street.

Sometime before 8:24 a.m. April 24 the “Self-Made Man” bronze sculpture was knocked off its pedestal at River and State streets in downtown Batavia. The 750-pound sculpture, which depicts a man carving himself out of stone, was donated to the city in 1996.

The three men charged in the vandalism of the city-owned statue in November 2011 – brothers Theodore R. Bittner and Thomas E. Bittner, both of Batavia, and Steve L. Piron of Sandwich – pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for damaging the statue, but their attorney said it was an accident.

“They did not knock it over intentionally,” their attorney, Cathy Cavins, said at the time. “They were climbing it to take a photo. People have been climbing the statue for years. I think the foundation was improperly installed or it deteriorated. Their weight should not have been sufficient to knock it over.”

The three agreed to pay the city $4,900 for repair costs, along with $3,500 in police investigative costs and court costs.

Cavins said her clients had offered to pay for repairs after the incident.

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