Payton family eyes statue compromise

Sept. 17, 2009 at 3:24 PM
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CHICAFO, Ill., Sept. 17 (UPI) -- The widow of the late Walter Payton says their family is willing to compromise if opposition precludes putting a statue of the NFL great outside Soldier Field.

"When you think of Walter Payton, you think of the Chicago Bears and you naturally think of Soldier Field," Connie Payton-Strotter told the Chicago Tribune. "That's naturally where you would want to put it.

"But we understand if it can't go there. We would love for it to be in the city and I am confident we will find a place for it."

Chicago Park District officials have told the Payton family the bronze statue honoring the Bears' Hall of Fame running back would not be in keeping with the preservation of Soldier Field and the area around it as a memorial to war veterans.

The family plans to meet with the park district again on the matter and has asked the Bears for help in getting space for the statue.

"We don't want to take anything away from Soldier Field and how it honors our veterans, " Payton-Strotter said. "We love them and we are in support of them. We would never want to diminish or take anything away from them."

Gov. Pat Quinn told reporters a compromise should be possible.

"There's a lot of approaches to Soldier Field, you know," Quinn said. "It's a park, the whole area of museum campus is an area we can explore. I think there's a way to do that without in any way diminishing the memorial to the soldiers."

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