A group that wants to erect a life-size bronze statue of Boston Marathon winner John Kelley has raised $3,000 in the last two weeks, James Roy of Mystic said Tuesday.
“There’s nothing easier to promote than John Kelley,” Roy told the Town Council.
He said about a dozen people in an informal group are working on the effort and collected donations averaging $25 through the website www.johnkelley.org. The group also plans to approach the Boston Athletic Association and other large groups, he said.
He estimates the project will cost $100,000.
Kelley, who died Aug. 21 at age 80, lived most of his life in Mystic and taught and coached at Fitch Senior High School in Groton. Kelley won the Boston Marathon in 1957 with a record time of 2:20:05. He competed every year between 1953 and 1970, finishing second five times.
He was Roy’s track coach at Fitch High School from 1975 until 1978.
“He was still a great runner back then,” said Roy, who was 17 at the time. Kelley was 48.
Roy initially proposed the statue be anchored on a large piece of granite and placed at Clift Street and Pequot Avenue. But he said the group discussed an alternative location on River Road near the boat launch.
Councilor Frank O’Beirne, Jr. suggested placing the statue somewhere on the grounds of Fitch High School.
“That’s where Johnny taught for many years, where he coached cross country for many years, and exposure out there would be a wide open exposure to the Groton youth,” he said.
Town Manager Mark Oefinger said the site at Fitch, on River Road or at Haley Farm could all be suitable. The property on River Road is owned by the state, however, he said.
Roy said he will talk to his fellow committee members and return to the council with a proposal.
For more information about John Kelley or to donate to the project, go to www.johnkelley.org.