SILVER LAKE — City officials and community leaders were scheduled to gather this morning to dedicate more than $1 million in street improvements in Sunset Junction. But one of the highlights of that improvement project remains missing: a $125,000 public artwork in the shape of a saddle.
In fact, the dedication ceremony will be held near the spot where The Silver Lake saddle – a metal structure officially known as BLOOMRS – was to have anchored a public plaza at the intersection of Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards. Instead of a sculpture, the site next to a Jiffy Lube has been landscaped with some shrubs and a few trees. Is the saddle, which was the winner of a design competition held nearly five years ago, dead? Not so say city officials and the sculpture’s designer. But no one can say when BLOOMRS will make its Sunset Junction debut.
BLOOMRS, selected from a pool of about 60 entries, was shaped like a giant saddle of woven steel. The flattened mid section of the saddle, designed by the firm All That is Solid, would provide room for seating and landscaping while the raised tip of the structure would provide shelter for visitors.
City officials initially said that the entire project was to cost no more than than $100,000. But the City Council eventually boosted the budget to $125,000. In addition, the designers received a $2,500 contest award financed by the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council for the sculpture.
Council District 13 spokesman Tony Arranga said council staff met with the designer/fabricator last week to discuss BLOOMRS.
“They are facing some challenges in regards to complying with City guidelines and staying on budget for the project,” Arranaga said in an email. “The project is not dead, however, we have not received a timeline on how the designer plans to get things back on track.”
Designer Heather McGinn said that BLOOMRS is “very much alive” and has always been on budget as presented in the competition. Part of the problem, she said, is that the city has imposed other requirements that have boosted labor costs.
The “delay in getting this project underway and the city’s additions to the project scope have resulted in increased labor costs, but luckily nothing insurmountable,” McGinn said in an email. “We are still working tirelessly with Bureau of Street Services (the project managers) and CD13 to make this project a reality in 2016.”
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