The iconic “Forever Marilyn” statue is returning to Palm Springs, and the news has people downtown buzzing.
“It’s Marilyn! This is where she should be in my mind,” said Don Tolf, visiting from Seattle.
“She’s just kind of this icon and she totally belongs here,” said Heidi Danicich, visiting from Washington. “This makes sense to me.”
Once a popular presence in the city, the 26-foot-tall, 34,000-pound statue will again tower over the city. Councilmember J.R. Roberts confirmed the news at Wednesday’s State of the City address.
“She’s part of our brand now and she wasn’t here that long, but now people expect to see her,” Roberts said. “People come back to Palm Springs and look around and say, ‘Where’s Marilyn?'”
So, where has Marilyn been?
She was first debuted in Chicago in 2011, before being brought to downtown Palm Springs in May 2012, where she spent 22 months. Then she trekked across the country to New Jersey, where she was displayed from 2014 to 2015. In 2016, she was in Bendigo, Australia. Eventually, Marilyn landed in Stamford, Connecticut, in 2018.
City leaders don’t know exactly where she’s going to end up, but they have a couple of ideas.
Councilmembers proposed putting the statue in the new downtown park, which is expected to break ground by the end of this year. But at the State of the City address, Mayor Robert Moon said another idea is on the table.
“She just may very well land in the center of the Town and Country Center,” he said to a reactive crowd. “Some people are going to love it, some people are gonna hate it.”
Wherever she ends up, many are excited about the attention Marilyn brings Palm Springs, particularly from tourists.
“She attracted so many people and brought so many people in here,” said Ernie Cheely, a downtown visitor. “Everybody wanted to see that statue.”
“Anything that brings tourists to come love Palm Springs, to come love the Coachella Valley, people come here to expect to see something different and we deliver,” Roberts said.
The statue could cost more than $1 million, money being raised by the non-profit tourism organization PS Resorts.
There is still no timeline on when she’ll be back.