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Stonington officials to consider placement of Kelley statue at tonight's P&Z meeting

Mystic - The Stonington Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled tonight to discuss whether zoning regulations allow for placing a life-size bronze statue of late Boston Marathon champion John Kelley in Mystic River Park.

The John Kelley Memorial Fund, which has raised about one third of the estimated $90,000 cost of the statue, is asking the planning and zoning commission whether it can be located within building setbacks. The town's zoning regulations do not address statues. The commission's meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Mystic Middle School.

The nonprofit fund is trying to obtain approval from the park commission to place the statue in a small rectangular parcel of land at the intersection of Cottrell and Washington streets. The statue would be located next to the parking lot that serves the playground.

Fund president Jim Roy said Monday that he and other fund officials have met with the park commission several times. He said he expects the commission to decide if the statue can be located in the park at its October meeting. Roy said he is not opposed to another location in the park.

If the planning and zoning commission agrees the statue can be located in the setbacks, then the town could issue a zoning permit for the project. Fund officials believe that having an approved site will aid in fundraising.

The statue, which could also included Kelley's dog Brutus running next to him, would be placed on a 3-foot-tall natural stone base.

Kelley, a two-time Olympian and former Fitch High School English teacher and coach, died in August of 2011. He won the Boston Marathon in 1957 and was an eight-time national marathon champion.

j.wojtas@theday.com

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