Columbia Restaurant Group will move its 1,800-pound, 11-foot-tall bust of Princess Ulele — at the request of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's office. The statue, titled "Ulele and the Lost Tribes," has sat on the lawn near the Tampa Riverwalk since December 2017.
According to a statement from Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia, he commissioned the bronze statute from artist Vala Ola of Cave Creek, Arizona, to honor Florida's Native Americans. Ola is also behind the bronze statue located closer to the award-winning Ulele restaurant, which opened in Tampa Heights a little over four years ago.
A nearby warehouse will store "Ulele and the Lost Tribes" until Gonzmart finds it a new home.
"It's been a wonderful addition to the Riverwalk and guests have taken thousands of photos of it. But I have been told repeatedly that Mayor Buckhorn wants it moved from that location," Gonzmart said.
The statue's relocation is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 18.
UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.: "This has nothing to do with the piece of art," said Ashley Bauman, communications director for Mayor Buckhorn, in a text message. "It was erected without permission on land that is a public park, alongside a Riverwalk that we have worked hard to keep free of clutter. The codes apply to everyone and nobody has the liberty of erecting structures on property that does not belong to them."