Statue repair: $10K-plus

Driving along Route 5 on Lake Shore Drive, motorists see a familiar statue. Since 1974 there has been a “Whispering Giant” statue.

The statue was built by Peter Wolf Toth and is one of similar statues located across the country and in Canada.

The Citizen’s Advisory Committee has brought up the matter previously about repairing the statue. At its monthly meeting, the CAC brought up the topic again, this time with input from both Mayor Anthony J. Dolce and Councilman William Rivera, who were in attendance. The discussion this time included talk of resealing the statue and even encasing the statue in an enclosure. Rivera said the estimation to repair the statue is going to be more than $10,000.

“Our Indian statue is in bad shape,” he said.

The statue, which is called Ong-Gwe-Ohn-Weh, has been damaged by the weather and the elements as it sits right on Lake Erie’s shore. Since the statue is outside and covered through the winter months, the ultimate goal will be to treat and seal the status with a protectant, stabilize the structure and eventually have a permanent enclosure surrounding the “Whispering Giant.”

The last time the statue was removed for restoration was in 2002, when the city, with help from donations, raised $7,000. The statue was returned in May 2003.

The CAC is looking for volunteers who may have knowledge of the structure or have knowledge of treating the statue. It is also looking for anyone who would want to donate time or money to the cause.

If anyone is interested in working on the project, contact CAC Chair Donna Keith at 366-6409. Interested individuals may also mail or drop off letters to Dunkirk City Hall Attn: CAC, 342 Central Ave.

In an unrelated matter, member Edna Sek brought up the public access channel. The channel, which previously aired on Channel 5, is now being aired on 19.3, a digital station. Since the channel’s frequency has been moved from analog to digital, regular cable subscribes can no longer access the public access channel.

“It’s the older people who have to watch their money and they are the ones who will watch the (channel),” Sek said.

In order to receive the channel, a high-definition TV is required, or a digital adapter which is attached to a regular TV. The special box is free to customers and can be accessed by contacting Time Warner Cable and will be free until December 2014. Customers must contact TWC by Sept. 23 to secure an adapter.

“You can get those channels, but you need an (adapter) box,” Danny McGill, CAC member, said.

On the topic of the public access channel, CAC Member Bill Reardon said he has been “disgusted” with the programming on the channel and asked about council meetings being aired. Dolce said he is in the process of working on getting common council meetings streamed live on TV. In order to do a live stream, equipment has to go through the judge’s chamber, which will require approval from the state.

“I assure you, these guys are working hard,” Dolce said in regard to the city’s new operators. “My biggest concern is that people can’t find the station. … You could have the best programming on it, but if no one can find it…”

The CAC will hold its next meeting on Sept. 11.

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