The base, which has sat neglected for nearly three years after the statue atop was moved, will be restored and new plants, shrubs, trees, benches and lighting will be added to the site, according to plans by the Department of Design and Construction.
The city agency collected bids from construction companies until May 18 and is still reviewing the proposals.
A bronze plaque will also be added that will read, “This fountain plaza is dedicated to the women of Queens,” long after politicians, including disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, and women’s rights activists condemned the statue as sexist.
The artwork by renowned sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies featured a naked Hercules — representing virtue — standing firm as mythical Sirens, which symbolized corruption, curled around his legs. The sculpture was intended to reflect virtue as a young man avoiding temptations of females, represented by the Sirens, so naturally feminists took issue with it.
In 2012, the statue was shipped to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery. It cost the city about $100,000 to renovate and move it, according to published reports.
It wasn’t the first time it was moved. The statue was originally at City Hall when it was completed in 1922, but in 1941, then-Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia moved it adjacent to Queens Borough Hall and mounted it on an existing classical fountain.
The statue did have many supporters though, including former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and Community Board 9. Some supporters wanted it returned to Queens.
However, restoring the fountain and dedicating it to women — without the return of the statue — has the support of Borough President Melinda Katz.
“The site will soon host a visible, meaningful tribute to the women of Queens and become a public space utilized and enjoyed by all,” a spokesperson for Katz said. “Once the winning bid is announced, we hope the vendor will begin expeditiously.”