A memorial park commemorating the late U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater is nearing completion, though donations to cover the cost of a bronze statue of Arizona’s most noteworthy political figure are still lagging.
Despite the financial uncertainty, the 10-foot sculpture is nearly finished.
"We’re halfway through with the metal finishing," said Ed Rilly, owner of Bronzesmith Fine Art Gallery and Foundry in Prescott Valley. "We’re welding the pieces together."
Paradise Valley commissioned the piece to memorialize the former town resident, who ran against Lyndon B. Johnson for the presidency in 1964.
The statue will depict Goldwater wearing Levi’s jeans, boots and other traditional Western wear, with a camera slung over his shoulder and a cowboy hat in hand.
Paradise Valley will pay $470,000 for the park, while private donations were expected to cover the $150,000 statue and $30,000 in sign and graphics costs.
However, Town Manager Tom Martinsen said donations haven’t added up to $180,000 yet.
Through a fund-raising effort, art collectors can buy miniature statuettes, or maquettes, of the Goldwater statue for $9,000 each, which is tax-deductible.
So far, people have bought between 10 and 20 of the 24-inch, bronze statues, and $5,000 of each purchase will go to the town, Martinsen said.
The remaining $4,000 will go to the artist and the bronzesmith.
He said the town is looking to sell 55 maquettes to cover the full-size statue, sign and graphics costs.
The statue will be the centerpiece in the acre-plus park being constructed on the northeast corner of Lincoln Drive and Tatum Boulevard in Paradise Valley. Rilly said the statue will be completed in late January and will be dedicated Feb. 14.
Paradise Valley Mayor Ed Lowry said he’s pleased with the statue’s progress.
"They’re doing a really good job," Lowry said. "It’s a splendid opportunity for the town to honor one of our finest and greatest sons."
The park will include four parking spaces, benches, a water feature, U.S. and Arizona flags; the statue toward the center of the tract; desert landscape; and wash with cactuses, rolling hills and stone replicas of Indian ruins.
Both park and statue will face southwest toward the former Goldwater home.
Joanne Goldwater, the senator’s eldest daughter, said she, too, is pleased with the statue and park.
"It’s going to be just a wonderful piece when it’s overlooking the Valley," Goldwater said. "It’s going to be very Arizona."
For more information about the Goldwater maquettes, call Natalie Montenegrino, executive assistant to the town manager, at (480) 348-3690.