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SILVER REEF - A controversial statue of John D. Lee is finally standing out in the open air.

Sculptor Jerry Anderson re-acquired the statue two weeks ago and has installed it outside the historic Wells Fargo Co. and Express building in the southwest Utah community of Silver Reef. The 7-foot-tall figure looks westward, toward the outskirts of Zion National Park.

The bronze replica of the only person prosecuted for the Mountain Meadows Massacre 147 years ago was sold back to Anderson by Washington City, which had commissioned the statue two years ago to stand in a city park next to bronze figures of the city's pioneer founders.

For the past year and half, the statue of the infamous participant in the massacre of 120 California-bound immigrants in an Arkansas wagon train has been stored under a shroud in the artist's studio. The city battled with detractors over whether to display the figure and, in April, City Council members voted against the display.

Anderson originally sold his creation to the city for $35,000, and said he would consider selling the statue again if he receives a legitimate offer. He believes the statue has increased in value because of who it represents and because of the latest controversy surrounding the Washington County pioneer.

He has rejected some offers because, while the potential buyers' desires to possess the statue were sincere, the money was not.

"Everybody wants something for nothing," said Anderson. "I figure the the statue will be worth a lot of money someday, especially when I'm dead."

Anderson said that the statue receives attention from its position in front of the restored Wells Fargo building that in the 1800s served a booming silver mining camp. Today, half the building is used as Anderson's studio and gallery and the other half houses the museum of Silver Reef, which has become an upscale housing community.

Anderson said while some comments about the statue are negative, most are positive.

The deal between the city and Anderson was struck after the City Council told the mayor to find a buyer for the piece that would not involve it being placed on city property.

Mayor Terrill Clove said Tuesday that Anderson paid $35,000 for the statue, the best of two offers he had received. Clove said he is pleased the city broke even.

"We're relieved now that we don't have to worry about it," said Clove.

City manager Roger Carter said everyone involved is glad the matter is now behind them.

"It's on to other issues now," said Carter. "That [statue] controversy is behind us."

Anderson will have another of his castings unveiled in the city park on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, depicting a solder looking down at a fallen comrade.

The money for the statue was raised by a Washington City veterans group and the city provided the location where it will stand.

"A war memorial is a lot less controversial," said Carter.