A new giant statue of Jesus Christ is rising about 25 miles south of Dayton, Ohio, to replace a similar and well-known structure nicknamed the "Touchdown Jesus" that burned to the ground after it was hit by lightning two years ago.
According to the Dayton Daily News
, the new Jesus statue, being erected along Interstate 75 at the Solid Rock Church near Monroe, will tower 51 feet in height, tall enough to be seen from a great distance.
Construction crews put up the first 20 feet, or legs, of the new structure on Wednesday, the Daily News reported. Unlike the old "Touchdown Jesus, with arms stretched overhead, the new Jesus will have outstretched arms.
Solid Rock Church administrator Ron Carter said the original statue cost the church about $250,000 to build. But he would not say how much the new Jesus, designed by Cincinnati artist Tom Tsuchiya would cost.
Carter said the original structure measured 60-feet-high and was considered "an icon in this area." But it's notoriety apparently extended well beyond the confines of I-75, according to the Daily News. Carter told the newspaper the church had heard from people as far away as China expressing regret over the loss of the "Touchdown Jesus."
The previous statue was built of foam and Fiberglas, both of which were flammable, Carter said. The new Jesus will be made of a higher density, fire retardant materials. If lightening strikes twice in the same place, Carter said, the damage will be limited to the point of the hit.
“We’ve been told that if lightning should strike the new statute, the damage would only be at the point of the lightning strike and the rest of the statue would not catch fire,” he said.
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