200115_ART

A future public art project on par with the Pony Express monument near Ninth Street and Frederick Avenue is being planned and would be funded strictly through donations via a local trust.

The St. Joseph City Council soon will decide on whether to accept another donation from a local foundation that would be used to commission and install a new artistic piece in the city.

The William D. Morgan Charitable Foundation donated $100,000 to the Parks Department last year for a future art project, and the council will look at another $75,000 donation at their Feb. 24 meeting for the same project.

Director of Parks, Recreation and Civic Facilities Chuck Kempf said the details of the project and the location where it will be installed are not yet decided, but it will be in a “prominent location” and will be comparable.

“Their interest was in doing a significant public art project,” Kempf said. “Something on the scale of the Pony Express statue, the other large public art sculptures that we have.”

William D. Morgan was a longtime St. Joseph resident who served in the U.S. Army and earned the rank of colonel. He later made money through stock market investments, and decided to leave his wealth for the community.

“When he was getting older, he wanted to make sure that his legacy was continued and he created this trust and just wanted to benefit the public,” Kempf said.

Since Morgan’s death around 20 years ago, the trust has provided donations for improvements to the community through various organizations.

Kempf said an installation similar in grandeur to the Pony Express monument, and other similar statues around the city, would probably cost around $250,000.

He said the trust will continue to donate money to be saved in a special account until they reach the level they need. Once the funds are available, the Foundation, city staff and City Council will decide on an artist, project and location.

Kempf said such projects are important in order to keep a sense of togetherness in St. Joseph.

“It’s just something that provides pride, provides some community spirit and enhances the aesthetics of the public space,” Kempf said.

Brendan Welch can be reached

at brendan.welch@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWelch.