MIRAMAR, Fla – A monument to Usain Bolt will stand in South Florida, celebrating the sprint champion who has long dominated the Olympics.
The runner’s statue will end up costing much more than Olympic gold: Miramar’s taxpayer bill will be a quarter of a million dollars. While some residents balk at spending $ 250,000, even calling the cost “ridiculous,” the city says it’s worth the price of a sculpture of the super-fast athlete.
Bolt is a Jamaican superstar and the statue is a nod to the diversity of South Florida. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans have made the tri-county area their home, and Miramar also has a growing number of families linked to Jamaica. The bill for the statue will be paid in four installments to artist Basil Watson, who has been featured in Caribbean media and praised by local authorities.
âWe wanted to make sure we had a world-class Olympian as part of the art in public places,â said Alexandra Davis, city commissioner of Miramar. The statue will be placed at the Ansin Sports Complex at 10801 Miramar Blvd., and Davis hopes the Bolt statue will help attract more world-class international sporting events to the region.
A statue of Bolt alone shows that âminorities can rise aboveâ¦ and that we can accomplish,â said Jamaica-born Miramar resident Doreen Lovell. She said the statue helps “build the image of the city.” It shows that we are diverse.
There was no full support.
City Commissioner Winston Barnes calls Bolt a “phenomenon,” but thinks spending $ 250,000 on the statue is “ridiculous” and “a waste of taxpayer money.” Miramar is not like Moscow, which has its own statue of Usain. Miramar does not attract international tourists, he said.
âGetting attached to monuments or icons won’t make us a 24/7 city,â Barnes said. âWe are not a tourist town, come on. The money could be better spent on “the wider community” of residents of Miramar, he said. “I don’t think we have the luxury of trying to create iconic monuments just at the fancy of the elect.”
It is not yet clear exactly what the statue will look like, including the pose it would show to Striking Bolt. (Hint: It could very well be that the lightning pose he’s featured on the Olympic stage so often.)
Bolt, through his representatives, could not be reached for comment. But he would probably like recognition. âI’m definitely a sprinter first, but I love to entertain, because that’s what people come to see,â he once told media. âThat’s why people love me so much. “
Resident Chris Koval, who was previously a candidate for the City Commission, said city leaders could have had a more holistic view.
Rather than all the money going to one person, Koval said he would rather see Native American and black athletes who are both from the United States and have served as inspiration for Bolt, such as Jim Thorpe, Carl Lewis. , Florence Griffith Joyner and Edwin Moses, as part of a Larger Laureates Garden.
“For the money they spend [it could have been smaller statues of] the greatest Olympians of all time, who turned out to be Americans, âwhile acknowledging that Bolt isâ the cream of the crop, âhe said. “It would have been a more diverse display and no one would have said ‘boo’.”
Miramar isn’t the only city to remember people with statues. Margate has a life-size statue of an actress from her hometown, the late Kaye Stevens. But in Margate’s case, the cost was tens of thousands of dollars, not hundreds of thousands.
In other cities, art did not come from taxpayers’ money. In Davie, a $ 50,000 bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been standing for years, paid for by a local Indian cultural group. In Fort Lauderdale, a $ 100,000 bronze sculpture was provided by the Venetian Arts Society, depicting a young Seminole girl along the waterway where the Indians had paddled long ago to a trading post by canoe .
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