It took years of meeting, planning, design and more than $200,000 in public funds to repair "The River Sculpture," one of Idaho's highest profile pieces of public art.
But in the early morning hours of March 20, a Meridian woman ran a red light at Capitol Boulevard and Front Streets, hit a taxicab in the intersection and slammed into the sculpture.
Emergency responders rushed Blanca Rodriguez, 24, to an area hospital after police said her Dodge Neon, traveling north on Capitol, hit the sculpture in front of the Grove Hotel just before 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 20.
Police later said that Rodriguez was not seriously injured and was cited for failing to obey a traffic signal.
City officials said they hoped to recover the expense of repairs to the sculpture,
estimated at expected to be well over $5,000, from Rodriguez's insurance company.
The River Sculpture, designed and built by Alison Sky, was commissioned in 1999 and paid for by the Hotel Ownership Group and Capital City Development Corporation, and gifted to the city of Boise in 2004.
In the following years, the artwork fell into disrepair from vandalism, water damage and overall degradation.
In 2014, the city began repairs, which ultimately totaled $270,000—$200,000 coming from the city and the rest coming from the Grove Hotel and CCDC.
Josh Olson, the city's Cultural Asset Program manager, likened the project to re-creating a "layer cake" of huge granite slabs from a quarry in Finland.
Among the multiple improvements to the River Sculpture were installation of 140,000 one-inch glass tiles; replacement of the original neon components with LED lights; installation of a reverse osmosis water filtration system; restored cast glass "gems"; and a reinforced hardware system.
After much expense and work, the newly-repaired River Sculpture reopened in late 2015. Back to the drawing board.