South City replaces stolen cranes with giraffes

Almost a year after two bronze cranes were stolen from the intersection of Junipero Serra and Hickey boulevards, South San Francisco has decided to replace them with two giraffe sculptures. And this time, the city staff is taking precautions.

The City Council recently approved the $5,000 installation to occupy the pond at the busy intersection. The pond has been empty since March, when someone ripped out the cranes by twisting off their thin legs. The giraffes have sturdier legs and are heavier at approximately 200 pounds apiece, which, according to the Cultural Arts Commission, should make them harder to steal. The cranes weighed between 60 and 70 pounds. The sculptures also will be insured, and the Public Works Department plans to anchor them to the ground with rebar.

“We looked at the size and weight and felt that it wasn’t something that could be easily broken,” Cultural Arts Commissioner Ron Burgess said.

At the time of the theft, police speculated that the cranes were stolen for their scrap metal value, but the thieves were never found. A year after the theft, city officials felt it was important to replace the stolen cranes, which cost $3,000 and originally were installed in 2004. The giraffes will be installed in the next two months.

“The city has a program in beautifying our green areas, and after they stole [the cranes], it seemed like something was missing there,” Mayor Pedro Gonzalez said. “It’s something that has to be replaced.”

According to Burgess, the cranes were sorely missed by the community, but the commissioners decided not to tempt fate with another crane sculpture.

“Wehad so many calls from people who missed the cranes,” he said. “They were very popular, but there was nothing from a crane aspect that was going to work.”

Burgess said the commission considered other options, such as replacing the cranes with a more traditional fountain or leaving the pond empty, but finally decided that animal sculptures were important to preserve the atmosphere of the place.

“A lot of people thought it was pretty and peaceful, and you don’t see a lot of that,” he said. “I think the giraffes will do the same thing, but I think they’ll be more fun.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Muni’s K-Ingleside trains will resume service after a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
K-Ingleside train to return on May 15

Announcement comes on the heels of pressure from Supervisor Myrna Melgar

Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs speaks to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16, 2021. (Courtesy SFGOV)
Former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs speaks to San Francisco’s new Guaranteed Income Advisory Group on April 16, 2021. (Courtesy SFGOV)
City launches task force to explore Universal Basic Income programs

San Francisco on Friday launched a guaranteed income task force that could… Continue reading

Demonstrators march from Mission High School towards the San Francisco Police station on Valencia Street. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Vigil, march honors those killed by police

Deaths of Daunte Wright, Roger Allen and others prompt renewed calls for defunding

A Recology employee stands at the comapany’s recycling facility on Pier 96 in 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
Nuru scandal: Feds charge second former Recology executive with bribery

A second former Recology executive is facing charges for allegedly bribing ex-Public… Continue reading

Kiana Williams
Stanford’s Kiana Williams drafted by WNBA champion Seattle Storm

Kiana Williams is going from one championship team to another. A senior… Continue reading

Most Read