The Leander City Council approved more than a half-million dollars for construction of the final phase of the city’s Veterans Park, including $100,000 on an eagle sculpture for the park at its March 7 meeting.
Fazzone Construction, Inc, which handled construction on the second phase of the park, was unanimously approved to build the third and final portion of the park project with a cost of just over $450,000.
However, the proposed statue drew opposition from Mayor Troy Hill, who agreed that the statue would be a good addition to the park but balked at the price tag to hire artist John Maisano for the project.
“I don’t know how we got to this point to spend $100,000 on a statue,” said Hill, adding that he felt the council had lost some perspective on cost. “We just throw around money like it’s out of a PEZ dispenser.”
The city’s parks and recreation director Mark Tummons said the $100,000 cost is “pretty standard,” based on other communities who have commissioned similar projects.
Despite Hill’s concerns, the council approved the measure to construct the statue by a vote of 6-1.
Maisano has previously worked on projects for the Waco Sculpture Zoo and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden in Austin.
“It’ll probably be one of the most amazing things I get to create in my career,” Maisano said during the council meeting. He said the eagle could range from six to 12 feet in size.
The third phase of the park project will also include a stone labyrinth near the south entrance as well as additional parking. The eagle statue will be located at the center of the park’s military flag overlook.
Construction on the third phase of the park should begin in the next several weeks and take about three months to complete.