A caged gorilla statue that was removed from a Texas park earlier this week after the city received complaints the structure was “racially insensitive” will be put back — without the black cage, the mayor told Fox News on Thursday.
The gorilla statue that has been at Corsicana’s Community Park for nearly two decades was removed Monday. Corsicana Mayor Don Denbow told FOX4 he received about 45 complaints from people saying the 500-pound gorilla statue, which is protected by a black cage, was “potentially racially insensitive.”
The removal of the park’s notable centerpiece caused an uproar among some residents, who said the statue was a key part of the area.
“If they were that sensitive, they would do a whole lot of things like come vote,” Gertrude Richardson, a resident, told FOX4. “If they are really sensitive, they could come to the city commissioners meeting.”
Jenna Burkes said “the gorilla has been there” since she could remember. She recalled how her children remember the park as “the Gorilla Park.”
“I just think it's sad that the gorilla is gone, and we didn't have a say so,” Burkes said.
Denbow said in a statement to Fox News on Thursday the gorilla statue will be placed back in the park with “some modification.” The cage that surrounded the gorilla — which was initially put in place for the children’s safety — will be removed.
“The city has assessed the structural integrity of the gorilla statue and determined with some modification that it can be placed back in the community park for children to play on or around. The cage will be removed. The city has plans to reinstall the statue as soon as weather permits,” Denbow said in a statement, adding that it may happen sometime next week.
The modifications will include adding structural support to the gorilla’s arm to prevent it from toppling.
“When they first put it up 18 years ago, they went and watched kids on it,” Denbow said. “And it would swing back and forth. And this is a piece of art that weighs close to 500 pounds.”
Denbow said it’s been interesting to see the response to the gorilla statue’s removal.
“Never thought that it would cause such a ruckus,” Denbow previously told FOX4.
The city plans to add additional animal statues to make it appear like a “zoo” in the park.