June 8, 2014 at 1:00 am

15-ton steel sculpture of sturgeon draws attention

A new 15-ton sturgeon sculpture sits along the Blue Water River Walk on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 in Port Huron, Mich. The $10,000 sculpture was funded by private donations and commissioned specifically for the river walk, which officially opens Saturday. (NICOLE HAYDEN / AP)

Port Huron— A 15-ton steel sculpture of a sturgeon is drawing attention along the new $6 million Blue Water River Walk in Port Huron.

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County installed the sculpture of the fish. They are among the better-known types of fish in the St. Clair River and also live in waters including the Great Lakes.

“The sculpture fits into the story that we are trying tell along the river,” said Randy Maiers, community foundation president. “We are trying to tell the story of the rebirth of a shoreline and the restoration of a habitat.”

Lou Rodriquez, of South Haven, says it took him three months to complete the sturgeon sculpture.

“I wanted to give the sculpture movement in order for it to look natural, so I curved the steel,” Rodriquez said. “I wanted it to have a life-like appeal.”

The $10,000 sculpture was funded by private donations and commissioned specifically for the river walk, which officially opened Saturday. “Sugar, the Iron Horse,” a sculpture to the south of the sturgeon, cost $15,000 and also was paid for through private donations.

“The sturgeon is one of the most famous Great Lakes fish and the steel it’s made out of fits with our industrial heritage,” Maiers said. “The iron horse fits into the story because is it made of industrial debris. That is the history of the site of the river walk.”

Names for the sturgeon sculpture are being solicited on the Community Foundation’s Facebook page. More sculptures could be added in 2015, along with a fishing pier. Events on Saturday include kite flying and a kayak demonstration, as well as guided tours.

“We still have a lot we want to do to the river walk,” Maiers said. “But we want to celebrate what we have done.”