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Statehouse memorial leads to official's retirement

 
Statehouse memorial leads to official's retirement
Posted Wednesday, July 17th 2013 @ 1pm  by WTVN Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Plans for a Holocaust Memorial at the Ohio Statehouse are continuing to move forward, but they'll do so without the man who's led the board that oversees the building and grounds since 1991.

Richard Finan, chairman of the Capital Square Review and Advisory Board, has been an outspoken opponent of the memorial since Gov. John Kasich first proposed it. He says the Statehouse was renovated to the period in which it was built, the mid 1800s, and such a memorial doesn't fit the time period.

"The design that was chosen absolutely does not belong on the Statehouse grounds," said Finan, a former Senate President from Cincinnati.

Finan says he's frustrated and so he'll step down in October ending a decades involvement at the Statehouse.

"When you don't have the support of the General Assembly and the Governor you can't fight things like that any more. You don't have any power," he said.

Finan believes the state is setting itself up for lawsuits over the memorial because it includes a Star of David, a symbol of the Jewish faith.

"I think we're going to get sued over that," he said.

A mock up of the memorial has been errected on the Statehouse grounds made up tarps and PVC pipes. It's a move that has offended the memorial's creator.

“Studio Daniel Libeskind did not receive any layout of what was assembled on the site yesterday nor did it approve anything before the installation. I have had nothing to do with what was assembled. It is a clear misrepresentation of my design which was presented on May 6 and approved by the artist selection committee," Libeskind said in a statement to 610 WTVN.

Finan has also put up resistance to major security changes including metal detectors. Gov. Kasich has asked for increased security measures. Finan says they'll have an increased police presence under a new security plan being rolled out in the fall, but it won't include metal detectors or airport-like security. He worries if those measures were put in place it would keep schools from taking trips to the Statehouse and downtown workers from visiting the cafe in the building.

(Photo courtesy: Capital Square Review and Advisory Board)

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