The City of Winston-Salem could soon have new public art displays along a main highway that runs through downtown. The project comes with a $1 million price tag.

The plan calls for a 40-foot-tall metal dandelion statue along Salem Parkway. Two dandelion bouquets would also be placed on the Church Street Bridge and would light up at night. 

The design firm Elephant in the Room won a bid to create the artwork. The cost for the project is a little over a million dollars. Some community members took to social media saying the money could be better spent on things like infrastructure and housing.

But city leaders say the funds were already set aside as part of a 2018 bond referendum that voters approved for improvements to Salem Parkway (formerly Business 40).

According to the designers, the flowers represent a sign of unity, diversity, hope – and a connection between the city's past and future.

Betsy Towns, chair of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission, says plans also include a website and smaller public art displays throughout the city's eight wards.

"The project has a potential, if embraced by the city, to become a really potent symbol for resilience and innovation and transformation that that plant represents across history and across cultures,” says Towns.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will have to approve the flower statues before construction can move forward. If all goes as planned, Towns says they will be installed in the next year or two.

Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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