by HANNAH BROADBENT
DaVinci’s Wing is a 10,000 pound, 12-foot-tall steel sculpture valued at $23,000. The statue is made by Watertown native, the late Pat McDonald and is currently sitting in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.
Almost a year ago, McDonald’s family decided to raise the estimated $55,000 it would cost to move the statue from Chicago and place it along the Crow River in Watertown. The family raised $35,000 and with a $15,000 investment from the city the statue is expected to be installed by the end of May.
“I don’t know the last time the city accepted something like this,” said Watertown Mayor Steve Washburn referring to the families donation.
Last Tuesday, April 11 the Watertown City Council officially accepted the donation and voted on a site design plan for DaVinci’s Wing. Originally the plan was given to councilors written by city staff, but at the meeting Abbie McDonald, Patrick’s mother, proposed a plan of her own.
According to Abbie McDonald and her contractor pick, Steve Burns with Burns Excavating, their plan is a cheaper installation cost, easier and cheaper to maintain, farther away from the sidewalk and faces the statue.
“That’s a great point by Steve, to minimize the maintenance,” said councilman Adam Pawelk.
“Anytime you have the contractor involved in the design is ideal,” said councilor Lindsay Guetzkow.
The councilors seemed to be on board, while city staff who designed the original proposal were not initially convinced.
“We’re going to have to do the whole evaluation again,” said City Administrator Shane Fineran.
Mayor Steve Washburn said their job now was to choose between “options approved by staff or wishes from the family” noting that they raised almost “two-thirds of the money.”
After almost an hour of conversation the council voted on the site design proposed by McDonald and Burns.
“This is really a unique situation,” Pawelk said.
“It’s a donation from the family so it is highly emotional,” Washburn said. “The important part is getting it right.”
Washburn recognizes there may be bumps in the road to getting the sculpture installed but says they’ll handle them as the come. He emphasizes the impact this sculpture will have on the community and what it symbolizes.
“This was community driven,” Washburn said. “It adds to the quality of life.”
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