"This statue will be a lovely tribute to a lady who has given so much of herself to Metropolis," says Lisa Gower, co-chairman of the Superman Celebration. Noel Neill, also known as "The First Lady of Metropolis," has been a frequent guest of the Superman Celebration and broke ground for the statue in June of 2009.
The statue idea was presented to Neil as a gift during her 85th birthday party celebration in California a few years ago. She is well known for her portrayal of Lois Lane in the memorable television series, The Adventures of Superman.
With plans set for an unveiling on June 11 during the Superman Celebration, final engraving orders are needed at the monument company very soon. A deadline of April 16 has been set for ordering engraved bricks guaranteed to be in place for the unveiling.
Clyde Wills, President of the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Noel Neill Statue Committee, explains that personalized engraved brick sales are critical to the completion of this project. "Engraved bricks are available for $75 each, are a great way for individuals and families to be a part of this historic project," he said.
Bricks may be purchased at the Metropolis Chamber of Commerce at 607 Market St. in Metropolis. The bricks are 4'x8" will hold three lines of up to 13 characters each. Also available for a $300 donation is a larger 12" x 12" brick. These bricks may be engraved with a logo or text and would be well suited for companies, organizations or memorials.
More information about the statue and a brick order form can be found at www.noelneillstatue.com. Orders may also be placed by calling the Chamber of Commerce at 618-524-2714 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wills says that this project is an excellent example of how things can be accomplished when area agencies and organizations work together. "It took efforts from the City of Metropolis, Banterra Bank, Metropolis Tourism, Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau, Metro Chamber and the Illinois Department of Tourism to make this statue a reality."
The statue and base are expected to cost approximately $65,000. An Illinois Tourist Attraction Grant in the amount of $29,500 was awarded to the Chamber for the project that will give visitors yet another attraction to see while in Metropolis. Then the Metropolis City Council approved matching funding for up to $29,500. The city's contribution will come from hotel/motel taxes, not city operational funds. Hotel/motel taxes are designated to be utilized for tourism projects only. Engraved brick sales will also cover a portion of the project cost.
The artist who created the 15-foot Superman statue, Gary Ernest Smith of Highland, Utah, was chosen to create the six-foot bronze statue of Neil. The statue will be cast in bronze at by Kevin Maag of Metal Arts Foundry in Lehi, Utah, who also was a part of the Superman statue project. The statue will grace the northeast corner of 8th and Market streets.
Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel said the Noel Neill statue will provide another avenue for tourism noting that the two statues will encourage visitors to walk for several blocks along Market Street. McDaniel also expressed his gratitude to Banterra Bank for their generous donation of land. Banterra has leased land at the corner at 8th and Market streets to the city, which will is leasing to the Chamber of Commerce for $1 each year.
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