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Port Says Kissing Statue Can Stay If Money Is Raised

Supporters of a statue at Tuna Harbor depicting a sailor and nurse embracing in a kiss were given one year today by the Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners to raise funds for a bronze permanent version.

The 25-foot-tall statue called "Unconditional Surrender" is on loan to San Diego and has to be returned to its owner, the Santa Monica-based nonprofit Sculpture Foundation, by mid-May.

The deadline to return the 6,000-pound sculpture, a rendition of an iconic photograph taken in Times Square in New York City at the end of World War II, was originally last week, but the port and foundation agreed to an extension.

The statue is a popular location for amorous couples to be photographed-with many of them having just come from the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Museum officials agreed to lead a fundraising effort to collect $500,000 to $1 million to pay for a permanent statue. Architect Donald Reeves and his wife, Julia, have also called for having a version of the sculpture that will stay in San Diego.

Midway officials plan to reveal details of their fundraising plans within the next month, according to port spokesman John Gilmore.

The commissioners voted 4-2, with Chairman Scott Peters and Commissioner Bob Nelson dissenting. Commissioner Ann Moore had to leave before the vote was taken, Gilmore said.

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