'Connecticut' statue headed to Tobacco Row

Published: Feb. 16, 2010 at 3:08 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2010 at 10:25 PM EST
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Lucky Strike building on Tobacco Row - Source: Odell Associates
Lucky Strike building on Tobacco Row - Source: Odell Associates

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Metropolitan Authority has made a decision and the Native American statue "Connecticut" is expected to be headed from The Diamond to Tobacco Row.

This afternoon, the RMA Board of Directors voted to adopt a recommendation by the advisory group to grant the proposal from Odell Associates and the Power Plant @ LuckyStrike, which plans to place the 25-year-old, 2,400 pound statue at the Lucky Strike building on Tobacco Row in Shockoe Bottom.

The board announced the finalists as Odell Associates, Powhatan high school and Henrico high school, in that order.  In the end, the board decided that the Lucky Strike location provided the sculpture with the most visibility to the public.  Some members of the Board questioned this assertion, and also raised concerns about the fact that the winning proposal included a monetary donation of $3000 to the RMA.  None of the other proposals contained such compensation.

RMA spokesperson Linda McElroy insisted that money was not the deciding factor, saying "Even if we take payment out of the equation, Odell Associates would still have been our top recommendation."

In a news release from Odell Associates, "Connecticut," from the Indian word Quinnehtukqut, translates "beside the long tidal river." Sculptor Paul DiPasquale chose this name because of his original intention to unveil this monumental tribal tribute in Washington, DC, along the tidal Potomac River. With the selection of Odell Associate's Lucky Strike @ Power Plant as Connecticut's future home, the Indian will finally rest as intended, beside the long tidal river, the James River.

The Lucky Strike Power Plant is the final restoration project of Tobacco Row, the former home of the American Tobacco Company, according to the release. The Power Plant @ Lucky Strike is a joint venture between Mac Partners and Odell Associates. This historic landmark recognized in 2009 by the American Institute of Architects and Greater Richmond Area Commercial Real Estate as an Award winning Historical Adaptive Re-Use project.

A month ago, staff members from Henrico, Monacan and Powhatan high schools and other prospective groups came to The Diamond to get a closer look at the prize they hoped to bring back to their schools, etc.

Organizations interested in "Connecticut" had to submit a proposal to the RMA by January 29, outlining why the group deserves the sculpture.  There were six groups that submitted proposals, but the RMA declined to give any more information.

The statue, created by Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale, must go before the new baseball team, the Flying Squirrels, starts the season at The Diamond.

The article posted to the NBC12.com website on Jan. 15 received more than 10,000 votes in a poll and more than 100 comments as the three high schools battled for the rights to the statue.

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