UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (KMOX) – Despite a small but vocal surge of public opposition, a bronze statue of rock n’ roll legend Chuck Berry is set to go up in University City by week’s end.
A petition drive to stop the privately funded tribute put the matter on last night’s council meeting agenda, but just for discussion. There never was a vote on the project and that fact had some in the crowd upset, because the city would have to pay for the upkeep of the statue and that it would be placed on city property.
Others contend Berry isn’t worthy of official recognition, given his tainted past. U. City resident Sarah Davoli acknowledges the fact that Berry is a rock n’ roll legend. But she told the council that they’re forgetting the musician is also a convicted criminal, accused of sexual misconduct in the past. “How will the victims feel when they walk through the loop and see his statue, Davoli asked. “Is that what University City is about?”
But fans say the statue is a long over-due honor to the man credited with starting a cultural revolution with songs like “Johnny B. Goode.” Bringing the discussion to a close, University City Mayor Shelley Welsch said the tribute is less about the man, and more about the music. “There’s no question in my mind that this statue of Chuck Berry will attract visitors to University City,” Welsh said. “Instillation of this statue is appropriate and positive for our community.”
KMOX host Charlie Brennan and Blueberry Hill owner and U. City Loop promoter Joe Edwards organized the fundraising drive to pay for the 8-foot tall bronze statue, created by local artist Harry Weber. Edwards says it will be installed Thursday or Friday Loop at Ackert Plaza along Delmar Boulevard. A formal dedication will be held July 29th.