The 5-foot rabbit in Dedham will stay for now.
Following a public discussion Monday night, a fiberglass rabbit sculpture, whose location irked some veterans, will stay in the Oakdale Common until the Parks and Recreation Committee decides otherwise.
The controversy came to light last week after the bunny was placed in the park, putting two groups in town — the Dedham Public Art Project and the Combined Veterans Council — at odds over its appropriateness.
The veterans had planned to give a gun salute at the common, which also holds a dedication to those in the armed services, during last Thursday’s Flag Day parade. The veterans said the sculpture compromises the intent of the space.
After their request to move or cover the rabbit sculpture for the parade was declined, the veterans marched past the armed services statue but did not give the salute, saying it was not appropriate.
On Monday, at least 75 people filled the lower conference room at Town Hall, many wanting to share opinions for or against the rabbit’s placement. However, the committee limited discussion to a few people it felt represented both sides of the issue, including the artist and several veterans.
Since the controversy last week, there have been several private meetings on the issue, and the tone seemed to have softened slightly.
Those opposed to the sculpture asked the committee on Monday to consider requiring the rabbit’s removal by Sept. 11. They also want an apology for what they believe was a lack of communication with the Combined Veterans Council.
“There is a compromise out there,” Norfolk County Commissioner and veteran Francis O’Brien said. “This is the compromise — that bunny goes by September.”
The Dedham Art Project, which has been placing rabbit statues around town, had already planned to have many, if not all, of them auctioned off this fall to raise money for local nonprofits, but had not said if it would be done by September.
A final decision from the committee is expected soon. In the meantime, members plan to hammer out a procedure for future uses of the common and other public spaces.