More than a year after the city lost its beloved fox mascot, a group of residents are still trying to keep its memory alive.
In a Facebook group called “Remembering Our Village Fox,” members still routinely share videos and photos of foxes, often with comments saying how much they miss “Foxy.”
Throughout the year, resident Vivian Krug-Cotton has also posted updates there letting people know that a memorial effort is still ongoing.
Krug-Cotton is one of the major forces behind a fundraiser to add “Do Not Feed Wildlife” and educational wildlife signs, as well as a statue, along the Arroyo Grande Creek that Foxy called home.
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“Unfortunately, the city has cut back jobs and funds for so many things in their budget, so it is up to us citizens to raise the money needed for the signs if we want them in place,” Krug-Cotton said in an interview with The Tribune on Friday.
For those who don’t remember, Foxy rose to fame in fall of 2017, when it was spotted running and playing throughout the Village of Arroyo Grande. The popular little animal was particularly liked for its playful nature, playing with neighborhood dogs and hanging out with the Village’s signature roosters.
But the fun times came to an end in November when the animal was trapped and killed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services department after a complaint that it had killed a resident’s chickens.
Soon after, plans for a memorial to Foxy materialized, and dozens of people donated money and time to make it happen. To date, the effort has raised a little over $4,000, Krug-Cotton said.
Those plans have stalled in the past year, however, due to “personal stuff” among the organizers, Krug-Cotton said, but they hope to relaunch the effort at the start of the new year.
First up on their list is an auction in early spring.
Krug-cotton said so far they have about a dozen items to auction off — mostly fox-themed goods like quilts and picnic tote bags. They will also auction off a small watercolor of Foxy that was left on the Village bridge by a local child on the day of its memorial. Krug-Cotton said the child’s mother gave her group permission to frame it and auction it off.
“Looking for more items of course,” Krug-Cotton added.
Money raised from that would go to the “Do Not Feed Wildlife” signs, as well as educational signs about other wildlife in the area and how to keep the creek healthy.
The group’s most difficult goal however is a bronze statue to memorialize Foxy. Krug-Cotton said so far that’s been their “biggest stumbling block.”
“Because the city will not allow a ‘mass produced’ sculpture as public art, we have been reaching out to get quotes from artists for the bronze or other type of life-size fox sculpture,” she said. “So far they have all been well over $5,000.”
Krug-Cotton said even though a year has passed, she feels the effort to keep Foxy’s memory is still very much alive in the city.
“No one has forgotten,” she said. “It’s just a struggle with doing this in our spare time and trying to get donations when so many worthy groups have their hands out for donations too. We’ll get there for sure!”
On a Friday post by The Tribune about the fundraising effort, members in the “Remembering Our Village Fox” group commented within seconds, sharing their support for a memorial, with some even volunteering to donate money again.
“I had no idea so much time had passed,” Arroyo Grande resident Russel Katz wrote. “The hurt of this event still is pretty fresh in the minds of me and my family. My thoughts.... this grass-roots effort should be applauded and helped.”
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/agvillagefoxmemorialfund.