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Proposed John Kelley statue could have a home in Mystic

Mystic — The John Kelley statue may finally have a home.

Just days after the president of the John Kelley Memorial Fund said the group had withdrawn its request to place the life-size bronze statue of the late 1957 Boston Marathon winner in Mystic River Park, the Groton Town Council on Tuesday night responded favorably to the idea of putting it in a newly created parklet next to Mystic Pizza,

After meeting with Kelley fund representatives, including President Jim Roy, Groton Town Manager Mark Oefinger presented the plan to the council, which was amenable to the idea of placing the statue on the town-owned property, according to Oefinger's executive assistant Nicki Bresnyan.

The small park, which was created as part of the downtown Mystic streetscape project, is at the corner of Route 1 and Bank Street.

Bresnyan said Wednesday that the council will now be looking for more details about the plan, and Oefinger will be discussing them with Roy.

The parklet is the latest location considered for the statue of the two-time Olympian and Robert E. Fitch High School teacher who lived nearby on Pequot Avenue. The sites that have been considered include those along River Road near the Interstate 95 overpass; the site of the now-removed John Mason statue on Pequot Avenue; and Mystic River Park, among others.

The fund withdrew its request to place the statue in Mystic River Park after members of the park commission raised concerns and suggested there may be better locations for it other than next to the playground at the corner of Cottrell and Washington streets.

After getting approval for a site, the fund group plans to proceed with a design. Both of those milestones are expected to help with the remainder of the fundraising; the fund has thus far raised about one-third of the estimated $90,000 cost.


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