An ambitious fundraising goal to support San Diego's "Kissing Statue" was met just in time to see the statue off during the Memorial Day weekend.
The famous statue of two Navy sweethearts kissing on the San Diego waterfront will now be forever preserved in bronze, with a price tag of about $1 million, the USS Midway Museum's officials announced Saturday morning.
The statue will set sail for New Jersey on May 30 for restoration. A replacement should arrive in December.
The "Unconditional Surrender" statue has been on loan to the Port since 2007. Last month, the museum's president Matt McCloughlin announced that donors had already pledged $600,000 toward the nearly million-dollar bronze replacement.
The bronze replacement will cost upwards of $900,000, perhaps toward one million dollars, McCloughlin said. Commissioners for the Port's public art committee agreed to keep a version of the statue after the loan expires, as long as they could raise enough money.
The statue's replacement has drawn major criticism from local leaders and members of the public. Two of the port's public art commissioners quit after the board decided to keep the statue. However, support for the statue's message convinced the museum to campaign for a replacement.
The Midway held an aggressive "Save the Kiss" campaign to come up with the money needed to fund the replica. It agreed to match donations up to $100,000 as part of the campaign.