The search is finally over for a place to display two sections of the Berlin Wall that were donated to Mountain View last year.

The city council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to install the slabs in front of the public library on Franklin Street. The location was one of two recommended by the city's Visual Arts Committee.

The citizen panel, which was asked twice by the city council to come up with a list of potential sites, favored Charleston Park, but council members said the library offered greater visibility.

"While it would probably look a little better in Charleston Park," Vice Mayor Chris Clark said, "I don't want to relegate it to an area that is tough to get to and might only be visited on the weekends."

But Council Member Ronit Bryant opposed the library location because it would require the removal of a bench.

"I cannot support taking out a bench in front of the library where I always see people sitting in order to put the pieces of the Berlin Wall there," said Bryant, who cast the lone dissenting vote.

Don Bahl was among a handful of residents who urged the city council to pick a location with good visibility.

"These pieces of the Berlin Wall remind me that freedom is not free. Freedom is paid for in blood," said Bahl, noting that his uncle was killed during the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

"Proudly put these pieces of the Berlin Wall in a place of prominence, not tucked off in some obscure location, but a location where people will ask, 'What do these pieces of concrete mean?'"


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The city council voted in September to accept the wall sections, which stand more than 10 feet tall and weigh seven tons each.

They were donated by the family of Frankfurt native Frank Golzen, who purchased them after the wall fell in 1989 and erected them as a monument to the United States at an office park he owned at 2685 Marine Way in Mountain View.

One of the slabs features a caricature of Elvis Presley and the other a heart encircling the words "wir lieben dich" (we love you). Whereas the west side of the wall was a canvas for graffiti artists, anyone who dared to approach the east side was met with lethal gunfire.

In addition to selecting a location to display the wall sections, the city council allocated $50,000 to cover the costs associated with installing them in front of the library. Some of the funds also may be used to protect them from vandalism.

Several council members said they were proud that the city was in possession of a piece of Cold War history.

"What most of us may or may not know, this valley, especially Mountain View, was very much involved in bringing that wall down," Council Member Jac Siegel said. "I'm really proud of that. A lot of people worked on it here."

Email Jason Green at jgreen@dailynewsgroup.com; follow him at twitter.com/jgreendailynews.