Protestors filled the council chambers waving Polish flags and bearing signs opposing the move. They raised questions about the cost and who would actually pay for the move, and whether there was a risk of damage to the statute.
The Katyn Massacre monument has been located at its current site in the Exchange Place Plaza for 27 years. Because it depicts an extremely violent act as tribute to the 22,000 Polish who were killed in the Katyn Forest during World War II leaders of the SID decided it was inappropriate for a park that would include play areas for young kids.
Councilmen Richard Boggiano and Michael Yun voted against moving the statue.
When first proposed, Mayor Steven Fulop said the city would pay part of the cost to relocate the statue and the construction of a new park. But City Business Administrator Brian Platt said at the June 13 meeting that taxpayers would incur no cost in moving the statue or developing the new park, but would be responsible for maintain the York Street memorial park once the statue was relocated there.
The Exchange Place Special Improvement District – which is supposed to pay for the construction of the new Exchange Place Park as well as the York Street memorial park – did not supply cost estimates or specific plans that several council members requested.
Some protestors also pointed out that the statue is being moved to accommodate a new Exchange Place Park and several new luxury rental and hotel projects, not the general public.
Also the city, the SID, and a committee associated with the statue were supposed to come up with a memo of understanding that would detail responsibilities of all parties involved. But not memo has yet been signed.