City

Maybe the Solution to the Frank Rizzo Statue Problem Is a Frank Rizzo Museum

The owner of Pat's Steaks says he'll contribute $5,000 to get the ball rolling.

Frank Rizzo statue in Philadelphia (File photo)

While protesters around the country have been calling for the removal of monuments to the Confederacy, those in Philadelphia have their sights set on a much more modern polarizing entity: Frank Rizzo.

Some folks think that the Frank Rizzo statue near City Hall should be obliterated. Melted down. Buried in a landfill. Frank Rizzo, they argue, was a homophobic racist. There’s no place for him in New Philadelphia.

Others have suggested a compromise: moving the Frank Rizzo statue to a place like the Philadelphia History Museum, where it could be given some degree of context, said context being something that plenty of people will want to argue about as well.

And then there are, of course, no small number of people who believe that the Frank Rizzo statue should stay right where it is. Moving it is offensive and discriminates against them.

On Monday afternoon, a large crowd is expected to convene at the statue to call for its immediate removal. A counter-protest was planned and then rescheduled once Mayor Kenney agreed to meet with those who want the Frank Rizzo statue to stay put. Things could get pretty hairy if some counter-protesters decide to show up anyway. We hope it all stays peaceful.

But maybe all of this could be solved if Philly were to simply have a Frank Rizzo museum.

Now, I realize that this might sound like the worst idea ever to those of you who want to stick the Frank Rizzo statue right next to Jimmy Hoffa, but work with me here.

If the people who love the Frank Rizzo statue want to keep it so badly, let them have it. Let them form a nonprofit and raise private funds to open a Frank Rizzo museum in South Philadelphia and move the statue there. It could sit in a warehouse in the interim. No money from the city.

I have no doubt that there’s a South Philadelphia property owner who would be only too happy to give a sweet deal to a Frank Rizzo museum. Need carpenters and masons? Plenty of those in South Philly who consider Frank Rizzo to be a hero, not a villain.

There’s no shortage of artifacts from the Frank Rizzo era that could be used to fill the museum. That nightstick has to be sitting around somewhere.

There could be interactive exhibits as well, like Who Said It: Donald Trump or Frank Rizzo?

“A conservative is a liberal who got mugged the night before.”

If you answered Frank Rizzo, you’re correct!

The museum would also host community events and speakers. Frank Rizzo’s secretary could give a talk on all those pesky South Philadelphia bicyclists. Town hall on South Philly median parking? Where else but at the Frank Rizzo museum. Wedding coming up? Have it in the Crum Bum Courtyard!

Remote broadcasts from Chris Stigall, Rich Zeoli, Dom Giordano, and Christine Flowers. Do I have to think of everything?

“I think it’s a great idea,” Pat’s Steaks owner Frank Olivieri told me when I floated the concept for the Frank Rizzo museum by him. Olivieri says he’d consider a $5,000 donation toward the effort.

Just do me a favor, people: Take the Columbus statue with you as well.

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter