Tibor wants to erect monument to GIs in Bexley

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 Messenger photo by John Matuszak
Alfred Tibor, a Columbus resident and internationally known sculptor, unveils to Bexley City Council July 24 a model of a nine-foot monument to the American GIs of World War II that he wants to locate at Drexel Circle. Tibor has installed works at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and St. Charles Preparatory School, among other locations in the city.

The American GIs of World War II asked nothing for themselves, and found a place to make a stand against tyranny.

Internationally known Columbus sculptor Alfred Tibor is asking nothing from Bexley except a place to put up a monument to the sacrifices of those GIs.

"Humanity is something we shouldn’t forget. If we lose our humanity, we have lost everything," Tibor told City Council July 24 in requesting a space on Drexel Circle to erect a nine-foot bronze statue of a soldier carrying a concentration camp prisoner.

There would be no cost to the city for the monument with an estimated value of $500,000, Tibor said.

Tibor said he wants future generations to know and understand what happened during World War II and why the soldiers fought.

Tibor, 87, a Jew from Hungary, experienced this first-hand, when he was forced to join the army as a slave laborer. He then spent several years in a Soviet prison camp before being released. His entire family perished in the Nazi Holocaust.

After fleeing the Communists, Tibor brought his family to America, the day he considers his birthday.

He worked as a commercial artist for Schottenstein stores, and in 1972 began his sculpting career, creating works that express the need for peace and love in the world.

Works on display in Bexley include the "Promise of Life" monument at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and the sculpture in front of St. Charles Preparatory Academy.

He also raised money and erected a statue honoring the first African-American born in Franklinton on the west side of Columbus. Other works are displayed around the world.

"I can speak for all the residents when I say we would be honored to have another one of your sculptures in Bexley," Council President Mark Masser said.

The request will be referred to the Tree and Public Gardens Commission.

Tibor, who would like to see the project completed within a year, will be raising money for the project,

"Mr. Tibor, this will happen," Councilman John Rohyans promised.

In other business, Development Director Bruce Langner reported that he is reviewing the two offers received for the purchase of the city’s tree nursery.

As expected, Jay Schottenstein and L. Rider Brice, who had previously bid for the property, were the only ones to make offers when the lot was put up for private sale.

Brice had won the bidding war for the property, offering to pay $613,000 for the two acres he hoped to make part of a condominium project, but his rezoning request was voted down.

Schottenstein offered $150,000, plus another $100,000 in improvements, to make the nursery lot into a park that would be given back to the city. But officials decided that they wanted commercial or residential development that would generate tax revenue.

Council members then chose to offer the land in a public sale, forestalling lawsuit threats from Schottenstein, Brice and citizens advocating for preservation of the lot as park land.

Langner said he will make a recommendation on the sale by September.

Schneider Park, off of Sheridan Avenue along Alum Creek, will see $5,000 in new playground equipment through a grant from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio. The equipment will be made of recycled materials.

Bexley will be required to pay for the shipping and installation, at a cost of $1,700.

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