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Boy Scouts and their leaders pack the Hudson City Council chambers for a public hearing Monday night on a plan to place a 6-foot bronze statue of a Scout in Lakefront Park. Photo by Randy Hanson

Scout statue wins council approval

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Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

It took a few months, but on Monday night the Boy Scouts of America gained permission from the Hudson City Council to erect a statue of a Scout in Lakefront Park.

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The council voted 5-1 to accept the gift of the 6-foot bronze sculpture of the ideal Boy Scout first created by Dr. Tait McKenzie in 1937.

Council members also approved a site plan for the statue and an agreement with the Northern Star Council of Boy Scouts that will require the Scouts to maintain the site.

The statue will stand atop a 4-foot granite block at an intersection of the dike road and a walking path.

It will face the St. Croix River bay on the south side of the dike road, surrounded by five benches and new flowers, shrub and tree plantings.

The roughly 30- by 40-foot site will be paved with colored, stamped concrete pieces. A bronze plaque on a separate granite monument will explain the historical significance of the statue.

The plaque will read:

"In 1910, about two miles south of Hudson on the Wisconsin shore of the St. Croix River, two men and twelve boys held an experimental week of camp to try out a new youth program called Boy Scouts. This first Scouting camp in the upper Midwest was only months after the Boy Scouts of America was formed, and only a week after the first Scout camp in upstate New York. This Hudson experiment was followed by the formation of thousands of Scout units over the years in the Midwest."

Boy Scouts and their leaders filled the audience section of the council chambers for a public hearing on placement of the statue that preceded the regular council meeting.

During the hearing, Tom Smith, a member of the Park Board, reiterated his opposition to the statue being placed on public property.

City resident Robert Muchlinski also opposed the plan. He said it violated the council's own recently adopted policy on the placement of monuments on public property.

Longtime Hudson Scout leader Charles Huntley gave the main argument for the Boy Scouts.

"Scouting is history for Hudson," he told the council members.

He said "many, many, many" community citizens' lives and ideas had been shaped by the Scouting program and its rules of "decency, fair play, truth and responsibility."

John Andrews, executive director for the Northern Star Council of Boy Scouts, a 12-year-old Boy Scout and a local Scout leader spoke on behalf of the proposal.

Alderperson Randy Morrissette II moved to approve placement of the statue and the agreement with the Boy Scouts.

The motion was seconded by Pam Brokaw. Alderpersons Lee Wyland, Alan Burchill and Lori Bernard also supported it.

Burchill called attention to the Scout Law requiring Scouts to be "trustworthy, obedient, loyal, cheerful, helpful, thrifty, friendly, brave, courteous, clean, kind and reverent."

"I think if more people were this way we would have a better society," he said.

Alderperson Scot O'Malley was the council member opposed to having the statue in the park. He said he was acting on the wishes of his constituents in the Fifth District.

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Randy Hanson
Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.
(715) 426-1066
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