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Juneau's whale awarded grant

$500,000 remains to be funded

Posted: July 4, 2013 - 10:16pm  |  Updated: July 5, 2013 - 12:11am

A major grant was awarded to the statehood whale project early this week, bringing it closer to completion.

On Tuesday the board of directors for the project announced the Rasmuson Foundation had awarded $250,000 to the project.

“I think we’re doing pretty well,” said Jim Clark, a board member. “We’ve got 82 percent of the project funding secure, along with the contribution from the city.”

Roughly $500,000 remains to be funded.

“We’re delighted,” said Brent Fischer, Director of Parks and Recreation. “It’s going to be a neat asset to that park area.”

The $2.2 million life-size bronze whale is expected in Juneau by next year.

“We’re treating this grant from Rasmuson as a match and we’ll be doing everything we can to get folks from the local community to match the generously of the grant,” said Clark.

The sculpture will rise more than 25 feet from an infinity pool located on waterfront land in Bridge Park, near the Juneau-Douglas Bridge.

Local artist Skip Wallen created the sculpture.

“We expect the whale to be every bit as iconic as the Space Needle is to Seattle or the Little Mermaid is to Copenhagen,” said Laraine Derr, the project Finance Chair, in a statement.

There is much left to do for the project. The sculpture is in the casting phase in the Lower 48 where a clay mold is now being made.

Also, the Seawalk that would connect downtown to the park still needs to be planned and the park where it will sit has not yet reached completion.

Former Mayor Bill Overstreet championed its construction for 17 years.

In a celebration of life, Overstreet will be remembered on July 8 at Centennial Hall. Overstreet passed away in April. He was 86.

• Contact reporter Kenneth Rosen at 523-2250 or at kenneth.rosen@juneauempire.com.

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