The additions are part of the third and final phase of the park’s construction, which is located at 1011 S. Bagdad Road, Leander. Phase III constructs a parking lot connecting to Sonny Drive, adds a labyrinth near the south entrance of the site and places an eagle statue in the center of the park's military flag overlook.
Leander City Council unanimously approved Fazzone Construction, Inc., which constructed Phase II of the project, to construct the third phase of the park for $450,150.32 during a meeting March 7.
The council also voted 6-1, with Mayor Troy Hill opposed, to authorize the city to spend $100,000 on the eagle sculpture for the park. Artist John Maisano was selected to execute the sculpture.
Maisano has worked on projects throughout the state, most recently at the Waco Sculpture Zoo and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, according to city documents. Maisano said the eagle project, which could be 6-12 feet in size, means a lot to him because his father is a veteran.
“It’ll probably be one of the most amazing things I get to create in my career,” Maisano told council during the March 7 meeting. “What I envision creating is not just an eagle that is realistic. There’s a bit of stylization to it, which adds power to the creature.”
Hill said he thinks the statue is going to be beautiful but he questions the cost.
“I don’t know how we got to this point to spend $100,000 on a statue,” Hill said. “I feel like somewhere along the line we just lost perspective... We just throw around money like it’s out of a PEZ dispenser. Are we really helping [veterans] by doing that?”
Parks and Recreation Director Mark Tummons said the cost for the statue is pretty standard, based on other communities that have done similar, large projects like this one.
Council member Shanan Shepherd said she is excited to see the final statue.
“This is a legacy for many generations,” Shepherd said.
Brandon Hay of consulting company Halff Associates said construction on Phase III is anticipated to begin either at the end of March or beginning of April and will take three months. Hay said the first two phases were complete by fall 2017 and included two plazas overlooking a pond, a wall of honor plaza and a walkway equipped with seating areas.