Round Rock City Council contracts with local artist for Heritage Trail West sculptures

Models of the proposed sculptures were presented to the council ahead of the vote. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
Models of the proposed sculptures were presented to the council ahead of the vote. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)

Models of the proposed sculptures were presented to the council ahead of the vote. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)

Multiple sculptures for the Heritage Trail West project are included in the $492,000 contract approved by Round Rock City Council at its meeting Sept. 9.

City documents state that local artist Antonio Munoz would be contracted to cast and mold up to 10 bronze statues to complement the project. These 10 statues will be "one additional horse and rider sculpture, one Tonkawa native, one young steer being pulled by a rider, one grazing longhorn, one standing calf, one standing longhorn and three cowboys sitting around a fire pit with period cookware," according to the city's meeting packet.

Parks and Recreation Director Rick Atkins said Munoz is a Round Rock resident and that he apprenticed under Jim Thomas, the artist who created the sculptures that have already been placed at the Chisholm Trail Crossing Park at 500 Chisholm Trail Road.

"He crafts them in his living room," Atkins said. "He starts with that small one, and then he creates the mold, then sends the mold off to the foundry, and then they're cast. Once they're cast, he cleans and finishes them up. Then we work together with him to install them out in the park."

At a 1.15 scale, the sculptures will be arranged in a timeline showing the history of the area from the 1800s to early 1900s. They will be created in three phases, with the first phase of sculptures representing a Tonkawa native, horse and rider as well as a roped steer, scheduled to take 15 months. The second phase, a standing steer, grazing steer and calf, will take 20 months to complete. Twenty-five months have been allotted for a third phase, including three cowboys and a fire pit with period-appropriate cookware. The statues will be placed along the Heritage Trail West hiking trail, a 10-foot-wide hiking path that will connect Chisholm Trail Road near the park and Mays Street.

The final number of sculptures produced will depend on the cost of materials over the five-year contract. Atkins said at the city's planning meeting it was possible the city may end up with less than the 10 sculptures that had been planned due to changes in the cost of materials. However, some of the "niceties" lost due to the recent and large increase in materials cost could be added back to the project at a later date with different sources of funding. The current project is funded by $7.3 million of remaining 2017 bond monies. Atkins said the city has the ability to pull out of the contract at any time with 30 days' notice should funds run out.

"You can't buy these off the shelves, so you have these things fabricated [and] cast to match what we already have in existence," Atkins said. "We anticipate coming back to add some of the niceties because this was supposed to be our showpiece in the next bond election."

When cast, the bronze statues will be finished in a dark brown-blue patina to match what already exists at the Chisholm Trail Crossing.
By Brooke Sjoberg
Brooke Sjoberg is the Round Rock reporter for the Round Rock and Pflugerville/Hutto editions of Community Impact Newspaper. She worked for The Gonzales Inquirer, The Daily Texan and The Daily Dot among other publications before coming to Community Impact. Brooke is from Seguin, TX and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin in 2020. Her last name is pronounced Show-burg.


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