Parks board donates toward new Riley statue

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Parks and Recreation Board took another step this week toward the installation of the “Reading with Riley” statue.

The board on Wednesday approved its 2016 parks budget, which included a $9,500 payment toward the $40,000 or $45,000 price tag for the statue of James Whitcomb Riley.

The statue is planned as part of Indiana’s bicentennial celebration and in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Riley’s death. The city plans to place the statue of Riley sitting on a bench outside of the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home and Museum.

The project already has the support of $15,000 from the Hancock County Tourism Commission, as well as $5,000 from the Hancock County Visitors Bureau.

The parks department plans to submit applications for grants, contact businesses for larger sponsorship dollars, and is considering a brick fundraiser to raise the remainder of the cost of the statue.