Taxpayer money paid for massive new statue unveiled in Edmond

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EDMOND, Okla. -- A massive new statue unveiled in Edmond has garnered a lot of mixed opinions.

Tax dollars paid for it, but not everyone is happy about it.

At 18 feet, this depiction of an Indian chief is now the biggest work of art in Edmond.

It used to be outside the Houston Astrodome until the city bought it for $50,000.

At a hefty 20,000 pounds, you can’t miss it driving down 2nd street in Edmond. The new piece of public art is taller than Italy’s statue of David.

“It’s part of what we do to beautify the community, public art has become that,” Edmond city spokesman Casey Moore said.

City leaders say a citizen suggested council members take a look at buying the statue when the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Association put it up for sale.

“This piece is called ‘Touch the Clouds,’ which is the name of the Indian chief that’s depicted. He was a chief that was around back in the 1800s,” Moore said.

The City of Edmond has more than 150 pieces of public art.

Your tax dollars pay for all of it.

The sculpture of Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller was once the biggest.

City leaders thought the Indian chief statue would be fitting along Route 66. Some folks like it.

“It’s wonderful that we have statues and we have an arts community,” Kristi Archuleta Prush said.

Others think it’s too much.

“They already have a lot of statues around here,” August Minter says. “That could've gone toward something a lot more useful. $50,000 isn’t exactly cheap.”

As mentioned earlier, $50,000 was the price of the statue. It cost another $40,000 to move it here from Houston.

Some people told us they wished that money went to fix roads or other city projects, but the arts community here is raving about it.

“I’m a huge proponent of the arts, and I think it teaches us a level of humanity,” Archuleta Prush said.

The statue isn’t done yet. A lengthy restoration project will begin later this year.

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