Statue to replace love locks along the Hague

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Love is about compromise and that’s what a grassroots group in Norfolk has decided to do about the “love locks” controversy on the Hague pedestrian bridge. It’s a story 10 On Your Side has been following for several years.

As the custom goes, lovers put their names on locks, then throw the key into the water.

“I really like the love locks,” Michelle Zilinskas told as she walked across the bridge Monday morning. “I spent some time in Paris and this reminds me of Paris.”

While some see beauty in such an act, others see it as an eyesore.

An online survey done by the grassroots group over two days shows 32 percent hate the locks while a majority 53 percent love or like them. So why not just leave them alone?

“I think the answer is there are enough of the critical mass of people who are against them and quite honestly, there are some who are over there cutting off the locks all the time and it’s not the city,” said Councilwoman Andria McClellan.

McClellan organized the grassroots group and they’ve decided to get behind another majority surveyed: The 57 percent who support an alternative public art sculpture, similar to those in other cities around the world.

The group put out a request to students at the Governor’s School for the Arts to design what McClellan hopes will become something iconic in Norfolk.

“Don’t we need this now more than ever?” McClellan asked. “The idea when you have different ideas to come together.”

The winning artist will get $1,000. Then, the group will raise money to build it. They hope to unveil it and begin celebrating love and compromise around Valentine’s Day.

The favorite location for the sculpture would be along what’s called “Lover’s Grove,” between the bridge and Brambleton Avenue, along the tree line. The sculpture would be for a certain number of locks, so once it reaches capacity, they’d all be cut down and you would start all over again. They have not yet decided what would become of the old locks.