by HANNAH BROADBENT
After a year of fundraising, planning and fighting for the 10,000 pound statue, DaVini’s Wing has finally landed in downtown Watertown.
Last Wednesday, the McDonald family could be seen gathered around the 12-foot sculpture paying their respects. Though the statue has been installed for a few weeks now it was the first time more of the family had seen it in person. The wing had spent the first years of it’s life in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, but after the passing of the creator, Pat McDonald, the family knew it belonged with them.
Abbie McDonald said it’s incredible having more family to see it. Four of Pat’s aunts were viting on Wednesday, aunts who would be unable to have visited it in Chicago. She said as special as it is for the family, she knows this means something for the city as well.
“Everyone in this city is really fantastic, they donated a lot of money,” McDonald said. “It’s really special, this is theirs too.”
With the help of the community, the McDonald family raised $35,000 and the city contributed a $15,000 investment. The statue is valued at $23,000 and the money raised was the cost of moving it from Chicago to it’s new home along the Crow River.
The McDonald’s express their gratitude towards the city and the disbelief at the enormity of the sculpture in person.
“It looks different from every angle,” said a cousin of the McDonald’s.
The family said they feel excited now that the statue is here and they look forward to what putting the finishing touches on the space. She said the next step is the cement work, by her Nephew Steve Burns, then benches will be put in and so on.
“Our family is a really excited group, there will be a lot of activity down here,” McDonald said.
She said the memorial should be done the first weekend in August. At that time the family will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony. Until then, they will be aching to get it done.
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.
The sculpture is considered a gift to the city of Watertown.
“I don’t know the last time the city accepted something like this,” said Watertown Mayor Steve Washburn referring to the families donation.
In early Apri1 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.
For councilman Adam Pawelk, minimized maintenance and overall work was key.
Councilor Lindsay Guetzkow liked the idea of the contractor as a family member, and being involved in the design.
“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.”