Oyster Bay's Theodore Roosevelt statue is finally where its supporters always wanted it.
After five years in a temporary, less visible location, the bronze statue of Roosevelt atop a horse was placed early Thursday in a newly created mini-park on Route 106 at the gateway to the hamlet.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to have the statue placed where it belongs," said Michael Rich, a member of the committee that commissioned the bronze artwork.
The committee always wanted the likeness of the area's most famous resident in his Rough Riders uniform at the triangle-shaped site, but the land had not been available. So it was placed across the street in front of the Boys & Girls Club of Oyster Bay-East Norwich, at Route 106 and Berry Hill Road, in 2005.
The 2 1/2-ton sculpture - a copy of one in Portland, Ore. - was removed from the temporary site several weeks ago to be cleaned and covered with a protective wax. Thursday, after 8 a.m. a crane and crew from Skylift of Orient lifted the statue from a flatbed trailer and placed it on its new concrete base.
The Oyster Bay Town Board spent $473,000 in 2008 to buy the triangle from developer and Islanders owner Charles Wang. It spent another $581,000 to prepare the property. The nonprofit statue committee paid $2,500 to remove the temporary concrete pedestal, while more than $7,000 in moving and waxing work was donated.
In addition to the statue, the triangle features five trees, each representing an Oyster Bay resident killed during World War I, including Quentin Roosevelt, a son of the former president.
"After 90 years, to see this come to completion is just fantastic," town historian and committee member John Hammond said, referring to how long the statue has been envisioned for the site. "A couple of hundred years from now, people will be enjoying this. It makes an absolutely fabulous entrance to our community."