Mister Rogers statue arrives in Pittsburgh

March 19, 2009 at 3:37 PM
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PITTSBURGH, March 19 (UPI) -- A 7,000-pound, nearly 11-foot-tall bronze figure of late children's TV star Fred Rogers has arrived in Pittsburgh, Family Communications Inc. said Thursday.

The statue of Rogers seated in a familiar position tying his tennis shoe is to be the centerpiece of the new "Tribute to Children" riverfront park in Pittsburgh.

The bronze figure was recently completed and shipped to Pittsburgh from the studio of renowned sculptor Robert Berks in Long Island, N.Y. It will be stored in an undisclosed warehouse until a permanent home is ready on the North Shore site along the Ohio River facing the city skyline.

The beloved TV program "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" was produced and distributed for more than four decades by Family Communications, Inc., from the Pittsburgh studio of public television station WQED.

A summer dedication celebration is expected to officially open the "Tribute to Children" riverfront park to visitors.

"We are thankful to the local tradesmen, authorities and to our team of architects for their efforts in creating a very special place that will be completed this summer," Bill Isler, president of Family Communications, Inc., said in a statement. "The generosity of Colcom Foundation is making this gift to the region a reality."

Rogers died of stomach cancer in 2003 at the age of 74.

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