Monday, January 4, 2016

Get Your Red Hot Sculptures Here

The cities of Florence and Tuscumbia still don’t have their rock-n-roll sculptures in place…or even in line to be in place. Actually, as far as Tuscumbia goes, for all we know that Colbert County town may be planning a work of art that is not Milli Vanilli. Supposedly Florence is planning a piece that it not Sam Phillips.

Sure, it started as a good idea, but now it’s so convoluted and divisive it could have come out of Washington. Audwin McGee, sculptor who produced the first two works, states the cost of creating these masterpieces is phenominal. So why does Florence think it will get a quality artist who will do the job for around 20K?

But enough rehashing what we already basically knew. Let’s look at what else the TD article on these aluminum monstrosities has to tell us. One proposed Florence location is the East Florence roundabout? Wait…the roundabout hasn’t been approved itself, has it?

Memorial Grove Park? Andy Betterton says it’s off the table. Who knew it was even on the table? At least we won’t have to worry if a rock icon deserves a place next to a fallen police officer in the wonderful world of Shoals sculpture gardens.

The most interesting points? Betterton seems to grasp that McFarland Park floods even if the Florence-Lauderdale Tourism Board doesn’t. He also mentioned “When the mayor was talking about a government plaza between the (Lauderdale County) courthouse and the government building, it was discussed putting it there.” So Mayor Mickey Haddock is no longer considering this amazing plaza? Has anyone asked him why not? Didn’t the city pay quite a fee to a no-bid architect to do the initial planning? All before the idea received any official approval of course. In fact, we’re not aware that the idea was ever voted on.

The idea in itself was a good one, all though some citizens voiced opposition to closing one block of West College Street, and their voices deserve to be heard. Our problem was paying an architect in advance for plans that might never be acted upon. Perhaps the city is waiting for Fitz Hill to enter with his additions to the plaza project so that he can receive his standard no-bid fee for any architectural project contemplated in Florence?


How are the no-bid services of architects chosen in Florence? Let’s see…Fitz Hill is the brother of former state representative Bob Hill, so that must help. Robert Whitten got the plum project of the new tourism center, but he actually has vision and talent, and he deserved something after being one of three architects paid to begin work on the refurbishment of Mobile Plaza a few years back—only for all to be “forgotten” about until a fourth designer was hired. Donnie Phillips? Well, he had a dream looking out his office window, so naturally he deserved it. We don’t make this stuff up, folks…


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