ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) The three giant bronze sculptures that are being prepared on the other side of the Ohio River are starting to come under a bit of scrutiny, as some people are wondering if the pieces of art will take more from taxpayers than they give back.
The City of Ashland is proud of its past and its future does indeed look bright as the largest series of sculptures in the nation to be in one place are being put on centerstage at Riverfront Park, and even though the project is still under construction people are checking them out.
“We have already had hundreds of people coming down here looking before we have even really unveiled or had a ribbon cutting,” said Marty Gute, Ashland City Commissioner.
The giants statues that stand around 40 feet tall arrived in Ashland this past Summer, and each one represents the city in some way. Genesis symbolizes the community’s faith, the mighty Vulcan and his hammer stand for the city’s blue collar work force and steel and metal industry, and Venus represent the beauty of Ashland, and with the recent closing of AK Steel Gute hopes the statues will soon represent a new stream of revenue for the area.
“Every little bit we can muster will be a great addition. It was hurtful when AK(steel) shutdown,” said Gute.
John justice, who came from Lexington,KY to see the statues after seeing them on Facebook thinks the project will be a big tourist attraction for the area that local businesses can feed off of.
“I think one thing it will probably help with is just bringing in people from the outside to the community. . . bringing people in to view the statues and to also see what the rest of the City of Ashland has to offer,” said Justice.
However, some local taxpayers are questioning the cost of the statues to the City of Ashland, because the person who donated them wants to remain anonymous.
“There are always naysayers. . . . but we can assure you that no taxpayer money went into this(statues),” said Gute.
He also said the donor is an Ashland resident who loves the community, and has gifted items to the area in the past, but this one has gained attention because of its size and scale. Gute said the person wants to remain anonymous because he is a,”low key guy”.
He also said the anonymous donor paid for the design, construction and placement of the statues, and the only cost to the city and taxpayers is the maintenance of the pieces.
“We don’t foresee much added cost in upkeep or anything they are kinda self sufficient,” said Gute.
Justice, who is a former Ashland residents said he thinks the project is something the city needs, and the funding should be there to maintain the statues.
Gute said overall the feedback on the project has been mostly positive, and the city is hoping to have an unveiling ceremony for the statues sometime in mid-January.
The statues were gifted to the City of Ashland in February and were created by created by Gines Serran-Pagan