A 31-foot tall Abraham Lincoln sculpture is heading to Washington.
It may look familiar. The "Return Visit" sculpture stood outside the Peoria Riverfront Museum for about a year, from 2017 until spring 2019, when it was moved to Lincoln's presidential library in Springfield.
The sculpture also previously stood in Chicago. Washington is by far the smallest city to be a host, said alderman Daniel Cobb.
The sculpture will be erected Tuesday outside the Washington Fire Department, 200 N. Wilmor. The city said it is expected to remain for about a year.
"This might drive some economic benefit to us. Stop, stay here, shop, in Washington. I know we need that right now with the times going on," Cobb said. "I think that's going to be really helpful, if we can market this and use this as a tool to get people to come to our community and spend their dollars."
Washington Mayor Gary Manier echoed those wishes for the sculpture to help out small businesses throttled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"If we can open up after the first of the year, when businesses start to come back, hopefully we will see a lot of people come from outside the region to shop and eat," he said. "So it's kind of exciting to be able to have an architectural piece of this kind come to our city."
Manier said the statue would have been a traffic hazard on the city square. Lincoln Grade School also was considered due to its name before officials settled on the city-owned land near the fire department, he said.
The statue is funded through private donations. It comes to Washington at no cost to city taxpayers.
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