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Why the "Fort Myers Rachel" statue is trapped in a box

Some neighbors think the process is taking to long to fix well-known statue
Posted at 10:16 PM, Jan 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-02 23:47:02-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Along McGregor Boulevard, a large protective box has been put up which houses "Rachel at the Well," an integral part of Fort Myers' history that's currently awaiting restoration.

Since Thanksgiving, the box has been a temporary safeguard, according to the Public Works Director. Its purpose is to protect the statue until restoration can begin. Miami-based RLA Conservation is set to visit the sculpture on January 4th, Thursday to begin providing an updated quote. The previous estimate hovered just under $50,000. The city is straying from FEMA's prolonged process, in hopes for a quicker solution.

Page Boothby, an Edison Park resident, expressed frustration at the delay: "I think it's taking too long. The city should find the money, fix her, and forget about FEMA."

Sculpted nearly a century ago in 1926 by German artist Helmeth Von Zengen, the statue has been a fixture in front of one of Fort Myers' oldest neighborhoods. Residents of Edison Park have gone beyond admiration. They began actively caring for the statue's surroundings.

"We mowed the lawn, we watered her, we did everything, we had a contract with the city. She was really important to everyone in the neighborhood but she should be important to everyone in town." shared Boothby.

However, for now, "Rachel-at-the-Well" remains encased.

Cheri O'Mailia, another neighbor, hopes for a swift restoration, "We're just hoping she doesn't stay in that box too long, and that they do restore her."

The Public Works Director anticipates receiving the final repair quote within a month. With the city's approval, the restoration of Rachel could begin soon, bringing back a cherished piece of Fort Myers' heritage.