Sue Mack, co-owner of Mike's Memphis Tours and a representative of The Circle G Foundation, says a Elvis statue project could be a fundraising mechanism. Bricks which would surround the statue would be sold to donors. That would raise money for restoration of the ranch. Mack says the statue could help draw tourism to the Horn Lake area.
Sue Mack, appeared before Horn Lake aldermen recently to make a pitch for erecting a statue of Elvis, decked out in cowboy attire, in one of the city’s parks. The idea, Mack explained, is to place a visible image of Elvis in a highly trafficked area so that those who aren’t familiar with his connection to the Circle G can be made aware.
In the process, she said, the project could be a fundraising mechanism — she noted that the Elvis fan club in Tupelo raised $25,000 by selling bricks on a statue there — to help pay for restoration at the ranch once a buyer is found.
The statue could also help bring tourism revenue to Horn Lake, she added.
“With Graceland just down the street, those people who would want to see it area already in the area,” Mack told Horn Lake Mayor Nat Baker and aldermen. “If you put up a statue of him, they will come here to see it.”
Elvis bought the roughly 150-acre ranch, at the intersection of Miss. 301 and Miss. 302 between Horn Lake and Walls, in 1967 as a place to ride horses and get away from Graceland. The ranch was sold in 1972 and has fallen into disrepair, according to the Circle G Foundation website.
Current owners have the property on the market — the original price was $6.5 million but has dropped to $3.9 million — and the Foundation sees that as an opportunity to make it another destination for fans flocking to Graceland.
“We have to be realistic,” Mack said. “We know we’re not going to raise enough money to buy it. But we’re optimistic that by raising awareness, we can help locate the right buyer who will be agreeable to restoring it to what it once was.”
As it is now, Mack said, the property has become a “blight.”
“It’s not beyond hope yet, but it’s fast approaching that point,” she said.
Consequently, she’s hoping the Foundation can move quickly on projects, including the statue, that will help generate awareness and interest in finding a buyer.
Horn Lake officials were receptive to helping find a location for a statue but wanted Mack to check first with Elvis Presley Enterprises to ensure there would be no problems with casting a likeness of Elvis.
“I think all of us would feel better knowing it had their approval,” Baker, the mayor, told Mack.
Mack said Monday organizers were in the process of making the necessary contacts and would get back to Horn Lake officials. She said a sculptor had given a price about $55, 000 for the statue, which would take up to nine months to complete if the project ultimately moves forward.
Aldermen also asked why organizers didn’t want to place the statue at the Circle G instead of in a city park.
“We thought a park would be more visible,” Mack said, “but it could be moved once the ranch’s future is secured.”
source: Circle G Foundation, Commercial Appeal, and Elvis Matters