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Norman Rockwell Sculpture Approved Despite Planning Commission Denial

A Norman Rockwell sculpture will be built in the Village Center after Roy Reiman made a case for the sculpture.

A sculpture of Norman Rockwell will be built in the Village Center, even though the Planning Commission recommended denial of the proposal.

In a 5-1 vote Tuesday night, the Greendale Village Board went against the commission’s recommendation, allowing Grandhaven, LLC to move forward with the privately-funded statue of the famous painter and illustrator.

Roy Reiman, founder of Reiman publications and owner of Grandhaven, LLC, spoke in favor of the sculpture, and said it had the potential to attract more visitors to the Village Center.

“I’ve been looking for some gimmick that will attract people, especially that million market to Greendale,” said Reiman who also said the sculpture was not his idea. “We need a ‘Gotta see this in Greendale.’”

But when the

President John Hermes, who also sits on the Planning Commission was the sole vote against the proposal. Trustee Carl Genz was absent.

Grandhaven is the landlord of the Village Center shops and is owned by Roy Reiman. Reiman is the founder of Reiman Publications and has been credited with restoring the vitality of the Village Center 15 years ago.

Greendale has been marketed throughout the years as a Norman Rockwell-type of town, mostly by Reiman Publications and the .

In his speech to the board Reiman explained that prior to the purchase of Reiman Publications by Reader’s Digest he was able to write letters in all the publications to their millions of readers inviting them to Greendale. He is no longer able to do that. The Greendale Visitor Center, formerly known as the Reiman Visitor Center, was once managed and operated by Reiman Publications. Readers Digest decided they no longer wanted to take part in the visitor center and Grandhaven lost a tenant that paid $180,000 a year.

In order to keep the center from closing, Grandhaven took over management of the location.

In recent years the number of visitors and bus tours have declined. Grandhaven and Reiman hope the sculpture would serve as an attraction to bring in more visitors. 

Reiman said he doesn’t want people saying “I don’t like it. It was Reiman’s idea and he put it there.”

“The only way it’s going to go there is if you collectively think it’s a good idea…but I will ask: Do you have any better ideas,” Reiman said in his speech to the board. “We’re open to ideas. We need something new different, interesting…something people talk about.”

Trustee Ron Barbian said he believes the sculpture will bring people to the Village Center and the safety hazard reason for the commission denying the request was “baloney.” He said the sculpture would serve as a distraction the same as any other advertisement sign.

“We should not try to second guess a well-respected man that has done great things in business and has moved forward,” said Trustee Greg Turay. “He’s making this as a business decision to help the properties down here to generate more traffic.”

The construction of the sculpture will start along with the re-pavement of the Village Center parking lots. The Village will reserve the right to remove the sculpture if ever it feels it no longer serves the interest of Greendale.

Jason Patzfahl July 09, 2012 at 11:46 AM
A statue of Eleanor Roosevelt would make a better fit for Greendale, but then again she was a die-hard progressive and Mr. Reiman is a die-hard conservative who regularly donates the maximum amount to right wing candidates. I don't think the statue will hurt - and Reiman is paying for it out-of-pocket, but historically, it just doesn't make nearly as much sense as a Roosevelt statue.
Dr, Deb Harding July 09, 2012 at 10:02 PM
I would love to see a statue of Eleanor in the village. It makes great sense....please don't tell me that Mr. Reiman is donating to Mitt.
Carol July 27, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Say no to Roy Reiman? You have got to be kidding! If it wasn't for him , this village would not be what it is today, so be thankful for him. He is the one who had the Norman Rockwell collection of prints at the Visitor Center, so respect the "statue"!
Diana Van Heesch August 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM
I also would like to see a statue of Eleanor. I know they are expensive. But it would be fun to see statues of children having fun placed around here and there. I like the house tour idea too. I'm not real good on ideas. Maybe we can hear more from others out there.
KJD September 08, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I think the statue is charming and I love the idea of an Original, perhaps decorated in period furniture, open for tours!

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