Morris returns – town speaks up

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Morris returned to his rightful place in Tryon overnight Monday, Nov. 19. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Straight from horse’s mouth

In March of 2011, the Town of Tryon received quotes to restore Morris.
Bids came in from several local and non-local companies ranging in price from $4,000 to $13,000.  At the time the Town did not have the money and could not raise it, so they decided not to restore Morris. The town did not have to get bids for Morris’ restoration because the total cost was under $30,000.

At a council meeting in May 2012, Tryon Town Council authorized the Morris Committee. In June 2012, the committee came to the council with a campaign and restoration plan. The Morris Campaign Committee is working as a branch of the Town of Tryon. They have, at all times, been reporting to the town. They have kept the town up-to-date with photos, receipts and responded to all inquiries.

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The people chosen to restore Morris were approved during a council meeting. The two men are local artisans.  One is a firefighter for the Tryon Fire Department and the other’s wife owns a business in Tryon. These men were chosen because of the skills they possess, their ties to our town, and their appreciation of preserving our local heritage. There indeed were other bids for Morris. The one local bid proposed a full metal Morris, which the town declined.

During June and July of 2012, the funds to restore Morris were raised. There has been an audit of these funds and all money is accounted for.  There was an understanding that the restoration of Morris would not begin until the fall, after the funds were raised. The men restoring Morris have received only $4,500 of the $12,000 to begin the restoration. They will receive the other $7,500 when the project is completed.

After taking Morris to an undisclosed (within the limits of the Town of Tryon) location to begin work, it was revealed that he was infested with wasp nests and rotted from the inside-out. His entire head and tail had to be rebuilt. Wanting to save all of Morris that we could, it took a lot of work to restore his body and legs.  Morris was later moved due to vandalism and concerns of inclement weather.

His final return date was never disclosed because it was our wish to return Morris in the dark of night at a secret time in the same way he disappeared.

This brilliantly ran campaign made enough money to restore Morris for the first time since 1983 with monies remaining for future maintenance.  Thank you to all individuals and organizations who donated to Save Morris.  Forwarding moving and proactive actions build community pride.

Caitlin Martin, Tryon Town Manager