"The American," a 17-story bronze sculpture of a American Indian warrior, is headed for the hills of Osage County.
Of three potential sites for the proposed monument, Holmes Peak has won out.
"It has all the elements needed. It's serene. It has height. It has a beautiful view of the Tulsa skyline," said Osage artist Shan Gray.
"It's located close enough to Tulsa that it also can be an integral part of the city's Vision 2025 projects," he said. "It will be a sight to behold in five years."
Although Holmes Peak is the selected site, "there is still a lot of work to be done before an official announcement can be made," Gray said.
Gentner Drummond, principal investor in the land that includes Holmes Peak, said bringing together "The American" and Tulsa's planned Oklahoma Centennial Botanical Garden at the same site will create two attractions "that make Tulsa a destination as opposed to an afterthought."
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Mayor Bill LaFortune said now that a site has been determined, "we move into the next phase -- working up the specific details of each entity involved."
Gray said he is overwhelmed by the acceptance of his project by Drummond, the city and those connected with the botanical garden.
"The American" could be the nation's largest freestanding bronze monument. Including its base, the monument will tower 21 stories with an observation area.
Visitors will be able to ride an elevator to a platform in the sculpture's midsection, where plasma television screens will project a 360-degree view from outside. From there, visitors can travel up to an observation area in the head.
Holmes Peak, one of the highest points in five counties, has had positive core testing that eliminates any initial concerns over whether the site could support the monument, Gray said.
The estimated $26 million monument will be privately funded. The city was asked to provide a site and infrastructure.
The city's Centennial Botanical Garden, a 300-acre project, is predicted to become a national attraction and center for horticultural research.
"The city, Osage Nation and Osage County have already committed to the infrastructure for the botanical garden. Those efforts will be expedited for 'The American,' " Drummond said
Creating infrastructure will allow for development in the only remaining quadrant that the city has, Drummond said.
LaFortune agreed, saying the city will make plans to annex the area, which lies within an area the city has designated to become a part of its corporate limits.
LaFortune said Gray and his team "are doing due diligence" by carefully analyzing the site and taking every step needed to ensure all the commitments are signed before conducting a groundbreaking.
The next move, Gray said, is to work on the business and legal issues of the project.
LaFortune said he is impressed with Gray's work on the project.
"When you move methodically, you're ensuring your success," he said. "I feel assured Shan is doing it right."
The other two sites under serious consideration were Pioneer Plaza downtown and the River Festival Park on the west bank of the Arkansas River.
Gray said Pioneer Plaza is an ideal location, but there were a lot of issues to overcome.
"As important as this project is, it wouldn't supercede the needs of these people" who live at Pioneer Plaza, Gray said.
The work that would need to be done on that site could prevent the project from meeting its deadline of being completed by the state's 2007 centennial celebration, Gray said.
LaFortune said although Pioneer Plaza has a beautiful view, the issues to overcome were tremendously expensive.
"It's not a feasible location," he said.
Ruth Kaiser Nelson, chairwoman of the Tulsa Housing Authority, which owns Pioneer Plaza, said it would cost $24 million to rebuild the public housing facility.
Gray said the river site had flooding, height and access issues.
LaFortune said Gray's team had to weigh the positives against the negatives and "Holmes Peak has the most positives."
"There is a tremendous, long-term advantage for the city and the region by putting the monument at Holmes Peak," the mayor said.
P.J. Lassek 581-8382