GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An iconic entry from Grand Rapids’ first ArtPrize is leaving the  waters of John Ball Zoo.

Pieces of Nessie sit on land as John Ball Zoo prepares to have the former ArtPrize sculpture recycled. (July 19, 2018)

The zoo announced Thursday it is removing a degrading “Nessie” from its pond. Pieces of the sculpture were already sitting on shore Thursday afternoon.

Nessie made her debut in the Grand River near the Blue Bridge during the inaugural ArtPrize, and quickly became a crowd favorite.

Crews install Nessie on the Grand River near the Blue Bridge in Grand Rapids for ArtPrize 2009.

After the competition ended, donations from Bea Idema and others helped pay to move the 18-foot high, 100-foot long Styrofoam sculpture to the zoo’s pond.

The zoo says even then, the sculpture was described as being waterlogged. The zoo said it’s tried to preserve Nessie over the years, even coating the sculpture in rubber, but the artwork has become too fragile and is now impacting the environment.

On Friday, crews loaded Nessie onto a truck to take her to be repurposed.

Now John Ball Zoo says it’s working with Dart Manufacturing out of Mason, Michigan to recycle Nessie into a public bench. The new structure will sit in the zoo’s welcome garden.

It’s unclear when the Nessie bench will make its debut.