Changes to the Plethora sculpture designed for the San Pedro Creek Culture Park will boost the project’s cost to $1.5 million, more than double the amount budgeted by Bexar County Commissioners, San Antonio River Authority officials said Friday.
The project’s new price tag is $1,534,025, but the future of the project remains unclear. T.J. Mayes, chief of staff for Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, told the Rivard Report on Friday that Bexar County Commissioners will not authorize any more county funds to be spent on the sculpture.
In addition, Commissioners will decide whether they find the revised design of the project to be acceptable, according to both Mayes and Carrie Brown, the public art curator for San Pedro Creek.
The County commissioned Barcelona-based artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada to create the public artwork in October 2016. Of the $735,000 authorized for the sculpture in November 2016, $257,250 has been spent, according to the San Antonio River Authority, which oversees the San Pedro Creek Culture Park. Rodríguez-Gerada received $123,500 for his work to date on the project, and $133,750 has been spent laying the base for the 10-ton sculpture that was intended to be placed at the head of the creek.
Rodríguez-Gerada told the Rivard Report in March that the cost of the project increased because the project’s engineers decided the sculpture needed to be constructed of stainless steel instead of aluminum to ensure its structural integrity. The scale of the work, originally designed to be 60 feet tall, has been downsized to 45 feet.
Mayes said the remaining $799,025 needed for the sculpture would need to be raised from private sources by the San Antonio River Authority and the San Antonio River Foundation, the river authority’s nonprofit partner.
“We would wrap this into other fundraising that we would be doing in general for the public art program for San Pedro Creek,” said Suzanne Scott, general manager for the San Antonio River Authority.
Robert Amerman, executive director of the San Antonio River Foundation, said there were two possible paths for the project.
“We can either continue to look into private funding channels for Plethora,” Amerman said in a text. “Or we can begin discussing alternative artistic options with the project’s partners that fall within the project’s scope and budget.”
Mayes said Commissioners are discussing the possibility of a replacement work and emphasized that $477,750 from the project’s original budget had yet to be spent.
The first segment of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park opened on May 5 without the sculpture in place.