Construction hasn't begun on a monument planned outside the North Charleston Coliseum to memorialize the city's elected officials, but it's clear the project will be a bust.
That's what happens when a city decides to put the mayor on a pedestal.
The "wall of service" monument actually involves two busts - one of Mayor Keith Summey and one of former Mayor John Bourne - each at least 2 feet high and likely made of bronze. They will be set on 3-foot pedestals before a curved wall, the back side of which will feature City Council members' names displayed on cast bronze and black granite plaques.
On March 3 the city invited professional sculptors nationwide to submit their qualifications and proposals for the mayoral busts.
It's a project that has raised lots of questions, such as: Will the bust of Summey show the mustache and goatee he was sporting last year, or will he be portrayed clean-shaven?
"I imagine there will not be any facial hair on Mayor Summey's bust," city spokesman Ryan Johnson said.
The memorial plan was developed during the 2012 celebration of North Charleston's 40th anniversary. The city, now the third-largest in South Carolina, was created in 1972 and has grown dramatically through annexations and development.
Councilman Ron Brinson, who several city officials said was the lead proponent of the plan, said the memorial concept goes with the 2012 decision to name the complex that includes the North Charleston Coliseum, the Performing Arts Center, and the Charleston Area Convention Center, the Bourne-Summey City Center Complex.
The name hasn't been widely used and does not appear on signs, but Brinson said that will likely change once the memorial is constructed.
"It's going to be understated, but very appropriate," Brinson said. "This is not a vanity project; you see these sorts of things all over different cities."
There will be no bust of North Charleston's other former mayor, Bobby Kinard, who quit office before the end of his first term after repeated conflicts with City Council.
Brinson said that's mostly because the memorial is related to the decision to name the complex after Bourne, the five-term mayor who led the city's early years, and Summey, who was first elected after Kinard's resignation in 1994. Together, the two men led the city for most of its existence.
Councilman Ed Astle wryly refers to the renamed coliseum complex as the "BS Center" and said he generally objects to memorializing living politicians.
"I don't ever want my name on anything, really," said Astle. "I'm trying to figure out how to not have my name included."
Johnson would not disclose the estimated cost of the memorial project.
"We have a budget, but releasing the budget amount could skew the bids," he said. "The bids tend to gravitate towards the budget amount when the bidders know the budget."
Reach David Slade at 937-5552
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