Funds needed for Ohio's new statue in US Capitol

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TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio will have a new statue of Thomas Edison in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall, but first there's the matter of paying for it.

A nonprofit commission in February will begin raising the $1 million needed to cover the cost of creating the statue and getting it to Washington.

The commission also will decide what the statue should look like, who will carve it, and whether it will be marble or bronze, The Blade newspaper (http://bit.ly/TG5RqK ) reported.

Doug McDonald, chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Museum Center, will lead the commission.

"We've got to get a group assembled to represent the state broadly so that we'll be successful in fundraising," said Elizabeth Pierce, a spokeswoman for the museum.

It will be 18-months to two-years before the new Edison statue takes its place in the Capitol, she said.

Edison was chosen in a vote at historic sites around Ohio in 2010 to replace a statue of William Allen, a 19th century congressman and governor who supported Southern slave owners. Edison won a close vote over aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright.

But it wasn't until last year that a bill signed by Gov. John Kasich included a provision asking congressional permission for a statue of the inventor from Milan.

Each state gets two statues of notable historic figures who are deceased. Most are in bronze or marble and stand in National Statuary Hall, south of the rotunda. Ohio's The second statue in Washington is of Ohio native and President James Garfield.

Village leaders in Milan, the Ohio town near Sandusky where Edison spent the first seven years of his life, made their case for Edison, who invented the phonograph, motion pictures and even the cement that built Yankee Stadium.

Don Gfell, owner of the Sights and Sounds of Edison store in Milan, said it's a long process to get the statue installed.

"I don't think people realize that this takes a year or two to put in place," Gfell said. "I've been pleased to hear from a couple of my friends that have visited the Statuary Hall more recently that, when the tour guide found out they were from Ohio, he mentioned that Allen's statue will be replaced by Thomas Edison."

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Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/