WASHINGTON — A memorial here to Maine lobstermen may soon get congressional protection to ensure it a prominent spot on the D.C. waterfront.

It may not be the oldest or most historic monument in Washington, but Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, wants to make sure the Maine Lobsterman Memorial is not plowed under by a planned waterfront redevelopment.

Congress must approve the plan because of federal land use restrictions on the property.

Collins says she understands the memorial — which sits in a little park — needs to be moved, but she wants to make sure the bronze statue of a lobsterman kneeling over his catch is relocated to an equally prominent site on the waterfront.

The Maine Lobsterman Memorial in D.C. “should always be respected and remain near the water,” Collins says.

The memorial is a replica of a statue featured at the 1939 World’s Fair. It was placed on the Southwest Washington waterfront in 1983, a gift of the Camp Fire Girls of Cundy’s Harbor, and located near Maine Avenue. Two replicas are in Portland near Middle and Temple streets and on Bailey Island.

Making a federal case out of preserving the lobsterman memorial is fine with U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s non-voting delegate to the U.S. House, who is shepherding the redevelopment legislation through Congress.

Norton’s bill has been approved by a House committee and is headed for a floor vote. In the Senate, it will be taken up by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, on which Collins is the top Republican.

“The whole notion that youngsters from Maine would think of giving us a statue of that kind that is emblematic of the state is something you always would treat as a treasure,” said Holmes Norton, a Democrat. “When Senator Collins mentioned she thought (protecting the statue) should be in statute, I thought that was appropriate.”

The Maine Lobsterman Memorial, Holmes Norton said, is part of the history of the D.C. waterfront area.”The Lobsterman lives, he thrives in this new development,” Holmes Norton said. “He will be front and center.”

The project’s developer, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront Development, doesn’t have a problem with the requirement to protect the statue, either, and will pay any costs associated with the move.

The memorial could wind up in a new waterfront park being built, or it could be placed outside a revamped and expanded fish market and retail complex on the water that will be a focal point of the overall redevelopment, which is called The Wharf, said Shawn Seaman, Hoffman-Madison’s project director.

The current location is closed in by trees and shrubs, making the memorial hard to find. When the development company learned of the statue and its history, elevating its visibility made perfect sense, Seaman said.”The idea is to find a location for the statue that is a little more dignified and recognizable,” Seaman said.

There is only one problem with the Maine Lobsterman Memorial being a featured part of the new D.C. waterfront development, Holmes Norton noted jokingly.

The D.C. area, she quipped, is actually crab country.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at:

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