City Seeks Firefighter Statue
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Written by History Updates

Early Portsmouth Firefighter from Strawbery Banke Collection / Art

Besides two Civil War memorials, Portsmouth goes without life-size sculpted figures. Now the city wants to honor firefighters with a sculpture budgeted at $75,000 so far. Here’s the info and lots of links to our fire-history articles.




The City of Portsmouth has issued a "call to professional artists" to submit proposals to design, execute and install an outdoor sculpture to honor Portsmouth firefighters past, present and future near the Central Fire Station, also known as Station 1, Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire announced Monday.

The project will be funded through a $35,000 grant from the NiSource Foundation, additional private donations and also in-kind donations from the City. The scheduled completion date is Spring 2008.


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The City is seeking proposals for a sculpture that is life-like and approximately life-size, and constructed from a durable material designed to withstand the elements and require a minimum amount of maintenance. It must reflect the mission of the City's Fire Department and incorporate its uniform and/or equipment. The budget for the project is $75,000 for the design, fabrication, transportation and installation of the sculpture. Additional details and requirements are listed under RFP 37-07 on the Purchasing Department section of the City's web site,

The deadline for submission of proposals is 2 p.m. on May 2. By June 1, a selection committee will choose up to three finalists who will be asked to submit a model and additional information, as well as make a site visit and be interviewed by the panel by August 1. The committee will recommend one or two winning designs to the Portsmouth Fire Commission, which will then forward its recommendation to the City Council for endorsement at its September 18 meeting.

"Following the streetscape improvements on Court Street, we began this effort to erect a public sculpture downtown to the men and women of the Portsmouth Fire Department who are willing to risk their lives for others in service to our community," said LeClaire. "We believe this monument will become an important cultural landmark in Portsmouth and also will be an attractive place for our community and visitors to gather."

The fund-raising effort for the monument was launched in October 2004 when Northern Utilities gave the City an $8,000 challenge grant. Last June, the charitable arm of the utility's parent company, NiSource Inc., awarded the City a $35,000 grant toward the monument's design, purchase, fabrication and installation.

Other contributions include: $10,000 from Ron Bourgeault; $5,000 from City Councilor M. Chris Dwyer; $3,000 from Granite State Minerals; $1,500 from Ocean National Bank; $1,000 from Portsmouth Hospital; $1,000 from Robert & Nackey Scagliotti; $500 from Dennis M. Ryan; $800 in contributions in memory of Ian Esperian, who died in a July 2006 fire; and $250 from Greenwood Emergency Vehicles.

A firefighter memorial sculpture was erected several years ago at Fire Station Two on Lafayette Road in the southern portion of the City. When the streetscape improvements were completed near the Central Fire Station, there was discussion of whether to move it to the more visible location in the central business district. However, the creator of the hand-forged, life-sized statue advised moving it would threaten the integrity of the statue, and the decision was made to leave it in place and erect another one downtown.

The Portsmouth Fire Department serves the City's residents and visitors, business owners, and visiting ocean vessels, and also responds to calls for mutual aid from 50 area communities.

     Portsmouth City web site  
     Artspeak web site