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Cost of taxpayer-funded sculpture more than doubles

Cost of taxpayer funded sculpture.JPG

SAN ANTONIO - Will it be the new face of San Antonio?

The News 4 Trouble Shooters have learned a towering sculpture called Plethora may never be built. The cost of the taxpayer-funded sculpture has now more than doubled.

The 45-foot tall sculpture planned the San Pedro Creek Linear Park was criticized even before it was delayed because of budget problems. With this new price-tag that criticism is likely to increase.

The gleaming metal sculpture called Plethora was supposed to be unveiled as part of Tricentennial festivities this month. An artist from Spain named Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada was commissioned to build it out of aluminum. However, he had to switch to a more expensive material.

“Through the design process as we were working with the engineers it was determined that stainless steel would be a better material not only for structural purposes but also for long term maintenance and durability,” says San Antonio River Authority Public Art Curator Carrie Brown.

Bexar County had originally budgeted $735,000 to complete the project. But the design team now says it will take more than $1.5 million to build and install Plethora.

County Commissioners had already put the project on hold while they waited to hear how much the cost would go up. The San Antonio River Authority and the San Antonio River Foundation have been asked to explore ways to raise more money.

"This is a sculpture that commemorates the interweaving of cultures that speak to our community, the way in which it's designed sort of references the flow of water," Brown says.

But the flow of dollars may now doom the ambitious project.

County Commissioners have already said they refuse to put any more public money into the project beyond what was originally budgeted. Now they must decide whether to move forward trying to raise money through private donations.

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