District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña introduced the $7 million first phase of the Lackland Corridor Gateway Project Tuesday. It includes a public art installation, “Tribute to Freedom,” which celebrates San Antonio’s military connection.
The 75-foot tall steel and aluminum sculpture stands at the corner of Military Drive and Highway 90, near the entrance to Lackland Air Force Base. Five curved forms represent the different branches of the U.S. military. The central form — an obelisk — takes its inspiration from the Washington Monument.
Saldaña said the project will welcome the families of airmen who are graduating from basic military training.
“This is their first experience of our city and we want that experience to be first class,” he said. “So we believe that we needed to breathe life right back into this military corridor.”
Sculptor George Schroeder said he’s pleased with how the design turned out.
"I think the results are far beyond what we expected,” he said. “I think it's gonna be a long-term, successful gathering area for people of the city but also people of the Air Force.”
The art installation is seated above a system of channels that help drain stormwater runoff. The official ribbon cutting is slated for mid-March. The monument site will eventually become the meeting point for a network of hiking and biking trails in the city.
The Lackland Corridor Gateway Project will take approximately 10 years, barring funding setbacks, according to Alma Nunez, project manager. Aside from the art installation, the project will also include beautification efforts, landscape and irrigation improvements, and lane closures on Military Highway in favor of multimodal transit.
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