Artist Brower Hatcher planned to build something similar to this piece near the White rock Lake spillway on Garland Road back in 2012, but neighbors didn’t like the project.

Neighbors were nonplussed to be left out of city plans to install a major piece of public art at the White Rock Lake spillway back in 2012. The project was so disliked, ultimately, it was never built. Lake residents didn’t want the 24-foot, aluminum sculpture that artist Brower Hatcher planned to build.

For the past five years, the $272,000 the city had earmarked for artwork at the lake has sat, waiting for the right use. During Tuesday’s meeting of the White Rock Lake Task Force, Karen Casey of the Bath House Cultural Center said she is working with the city’s Park Department to bring a new piece of public art to the center.

“Many of you will remember that horrible thing that happened with the public art at the spillway,” Casey began, ensuring the packed house that neighbors would have a voice in the new art project.

“There will be a series of community meetings, beginning in May,” she said.

The main criteria for the new piece is that it be low-maintenance. Most will remember the ethereally beautiful, but impossible to maintain, Water Theater that was installed at White Rock Lake in 2001. The new project must be something that can stand on its own.

First, the community will be invited to help select the artist, who must have experience in public art projects. Once the right creative mind has been picked, a committee made up of six people, including two community members with artistic experience, will work with the artist to craft the right project for the space.

“Every effort is being made to start with the community this time,” Casey said.

She hopes to have the artist selected by September, with a design hashed out by January of next year. It could take up to a year for the piece to be completed, meaning any new artwork likely won’t be visible until 2019.

Birds at White Rock Lake Water Theater behind the Bath House Cultural Center. Photo by Hilary Schleier