Whether or not the fictional character Don Quixote would spark public concern led the Goldsboro City Council to delay a decision on one of the art sculptures selected for the downtown area.
The council signed off on three of the art pieces Monday, but delayed a decision on one, Don, a 14-foot-tall repurposed steel creation depicting Don Quixote, a fictional character from the 17th century Spanish novel, and his sidekick, Sancho Panza.
Councilman Bevan Foster said he wanted to research the history of Don Quixote and find out if the sculpture, proposed for location in the Center and Chestnut street roundabout, would upset any area residents, in light of the nationwide concern over monuments and statues tied to the Confederacy.
No one at a Monday night council work session offered information about the literary character.
Julie Metz, Goldsboro's downtown development director, said her only concern is that the city may lose the opportunity to lease the sculpture, if the decision was delayed.
"We've already lost two pieces," Metz said. "That would be my only concern."
The council was presented with the top four art selections recommended for placement in two downtown Goldsboro roundabouts on Center Street, in the John Street parking lot and in a Center Street median.
The city's general fund budgeted $7,000 for the artwork. The one-year lease cost for the four pieces is $6,500, Metz said.
Foster initially wanted to delay the decision on all the pieces to have time to research the artwork. Mayor Chuck Allen asked if the council would be willing to approve three of the sculptures and allow Foster time to research the Don Quixote piece. The council agreed.
By Tuesday, Foster told city leaders he was OK with the Don Quixote sculpture, said Scott Stevens, city manager.
The decision now opens the door for the city to lease all four of the art pieces, which will replace existing sculptures and be installed prior to an Oct. 13 ceremony. The ceremony will be held at noon.
The final art selections were made by a public art steering committee, which combed through pictures of 56 art sculptures in July and shortlisted the number to 12.
The dozen pieces were added to the city of Goldsboro's website for public review and input, in an effort to involve the community in the decision-making process. Public comments were considered by the steering committee, which presented its final recommendation to council.
The Don Quixote piece received the most positive online comments during the public feedback process, which took place from July 25 through Aug. 17.
"We received 217 responses, double what we did last year and it doubled the first year when we did it," Metz said. "People are really enjoying participation in being able to provide their feedback and loving the art downtown."
Among pieces selected for placement this year is Midsummer, a 16-foot-tall, orange and blue painted steel sculpture, which will be added to the Center Street roundabout at Mulberry Street. The roundabout is nearest to Goldsboro City Hall and one of the gateways into the downtown commercial district.
The Don Quixote collection will be added to the Center Street roundabout at Chestnut Street, which is near the end of the most concentrated commercial area of downtown.
Arriving Home, a 7-foot-tall black locust wood piece, will be placed near the entrance of the John Street parking lot, off Center Street.
July Leaves, a 5-foot-tall steel sculpture, the smallest piece in the collection, will be added into the Center Street median along the 100 block of North Center Street.
The annual lease cost for Midsummer and Don is $2,000 each, Arriving Home is $1,500, and July Leaves is $1,000.