Tryon accepts Morris the horse donation from TR&HC

Published 4:47 pm Monday, March 21, 2011

‘Save Morris’ campaign being established
The Town of Tryon has agreed to accept the statue of “Morris the horse,” as a donation from the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club (TR&HC) and is discussing creating a “Save Morris” campaign to raise money for repairs.
Tryon Town Council met Tuesday, March 15 and accepted the donation as well as authorized TR&HC to erect a new Morris statue at its new location.
Tryon Town Manager Justin Hembree said estimates have been obtained for immediate repairs to the statue, with the low estimates being $4,000 to $5,000.
Other estimates obtained included $10,000 and $14,000.
“We know if we take it over we’re looking at spending a minimum of $5k,” Hembree said. “Then there’s going to be ongoing costs for maintenance.”
Council also discussed abolishing allowing advertising on the statue and instead placing a community billboard near Morris for local advertising, including from the TR&HC club, as well as other non-profits and organizations.
In agreeing to donate the statue requested that the town give TR&HC first rights to continue advertising on the statue.
Hembree said the billboard should cost between $1,500 and $2,000.
No funding is currently available for the billboard or repairs to Morris, but Hembree said council could discuss placing funding in next year’s budget, which will begin July 1.
Council also discussed establishing a fund raising campaign for the community to help with Morris repairs.
TR&HC agreed this year to donate Morris to the town after having owned the statue since 1928.
The original Morris was designed by Eleanor Vance as a giant version of one of the most popular toys made by the Tryon Toy-Makers and Wood-Carvers, which was owned by Vance and Charlotte Yale.
The original Morris was destroyed in a fire and four other statues based on Morris’ original design have been built since. Tryon residents named the statue “Morris.”
Morris’ body is fiberglass, but the head and tail are made of wood. Repairs are needed to both the statue and the base and wheels.
The higher estimates for the statue included estimates to fabricate and weld a new statue.

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