Washington City hears proposal for large pioneer statue at Washington Parkway

The Washington City Council meets over Zoom to discuss city business as they are unable to meet in person due to coronavirus worries, Washington City, April 8, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Discussion of placing a large bronze statue on the roundabout on Washington Parking honoring Washington City’s pioneer heritage was had during a workshop meeting of the city council earlier this week.

A concept drawing for a pioneer-themed sculpture that would be placed on the roundabout on Washington Parkway. | Photo courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

During the meeting, which was held electronically Wednesday, the council heard from former Washington City mayor Terrill Clove. Clove, who was mayor from 1994-2009, was in office during the city’s 150th anniversary in 2007. He said it was at this time the idea for a large pioneer-themed bronze statue at the Washington Parkway roundabout came into being.

“This is to commemorate the settlement of the city and to honor the pioneers that came here and began this journey we are on today,” Clove said.

A concept design of the statue depicts an ox-drawn covered wagon with a pioneer-era man helping a woman step down from it. Just ahead of the oxen and wagon are two more people, a small girl holding the hand of a man pointing south toward the core of Washington City. The people, animals and wagon would be 15% larger than their real-world counterparts.

“I think it’s a worthy project,” Clove said. “It’ll be seen from everywhere.”

Clove said he sees Washington Parkway as the grand entrance to Washington City, which makes the location perfect to the proposed statue.

The artist commissioned to make the statue would be sculptor Jerry Anderson. Two locally well-known pieces by Anderson include the “Come Unto Me” sculpture at Spilsbury Mortuary and the sculpture of two Confederate soldiers formerly displayed at Dixie State University.

The cost for the sculpture is estimated to be between $450,000 to $600,000 and would take 18-24 months to create, Clove said.

While Councilman Craig Coats liked the idea of the statue, he expressed concerns over the price tag.

Clove agreed with the concern about the cost, but also said he believes the statue will be a worthy addition to the city.

“Art is very important to a city,” Clove said. “I think it makes a big difference.”

No action was taken on the statue beyond a mention by Mayor Ken Neilson that it will be discussed in forthcoming meetings.

Items proposed for one-time spending by the Washington City Council, Washington City, April 8, 2020 | Photo courtesy of Washington City, St. George News

The council also heard proposals for equipment and capital projects that one-time funding could be applied to.

The city estimates that it will have a 2019-2020 general fund balance of nearly $6.7 million that needs to be trimmed down by the end of the fiscal year due to state requirements. State law only allows 25% of a city or county’s general fund to carry over to the general fund for the new year.

In order to be compliant, the city is looking to move nearly $1 million in the current year’s general fund to other funds and projects as a one-time expenditure.

Among the recommendations was the purchase of an Areoclave disinfectant tool for $15,000 that could be used on city vehicles and tools. Kimberly Ruesch, the city’s administrative services director, said the disinfectant tool seemed an appropriate item given it could be used in events like the current pandemic.

Other potential expenditures include putting $10,000 toward supplying Glock handguns to the city’s police force, $250,000 toward a bike pump park, $150,000 toward expanding the city’s cemetery, $150,000 toward the dog park expansion and $40,000 for a new HVAC system for the city offices, among other proposals.

The council opted to create lists of which projects they felt were the most deserving that will then be forwarded to the city manager for review. No further action was taken.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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