Colonial Beach is a town of rumors. The town council is known to joke about rumors in the town at various meetings over the years.
Sometimes, however, the rumor mill is actually true. Rumors of statues have been swirling for some time. Statues related to the pedestrian plaza on Colonial Avenue do exist. As part of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s transportation alternatives grant program, a grant had been awarded in the amount of $547,000.
Unfortunately, the plaza will not come to full fruition as the plans designed for it would have cost double what was granted. The town will still be able to resurface a portion of the town’s boardwalk, but the plaza with the intended splash park and statues will not happen.
The two statues were commissioned at a cost of $90,000 a figure of a man and a woman disembarking from a steamship, in the dress of that era, were sculpted. The town was directed to go forward with the statues under the direction of Land Studios, PC. And Jerry Davis of the Northern Neck Planning Division as they would take a long time to finish.
VDOT did not see the statues as worthy of the grant money and would not reimburse the town for them.
Councilman Bill Dellar said, “We wanted to use the grant fund, but we paid for the statues before the grant (monies) had been awarded.”
Steve Cirbee, who is also on the council said, “The people who know what they are doing led us astray.”
With the plaza not happening as originally planned the town has looked for a buyer for the statues with no interest. That is not to say that the statues could not be used elsewhere. There are plenty of places they could be installed to draw interest to the town.
In fact, art and culture tourists spend more time, and money, in various locals than visitors of any other type. Colonial Beach has a thriving art culture with a large Artist’s Guild and many other artists in the town and surrounding areas.
Even though it is no longer open year round the JarrettThor gallery is hosting privately run shows, Shirl Rush has a gallery just down the street and monthly art walks are heavily attended at the galleries, local realtors, and the Potomac River Fisheries Commission.