Seattle's $1M waterfront art budget stirs controversy

SEATTLE -- Opinions are divided about the hefty price tag for proposed artwork along Seattle's seawall replacement project.

Some taxpayers wonder if the money couldn't be better spent elsewhere, while others believe the city should be investing in art.

The city just announced its budget is $1 million for art to be installed in what will become the center piece of the whole waterfront project.

"That's outrageous," one resident said. "That money could be going to schools. It could be going to better streets."

The Director of Seattle's Art and Culture Office, Randy Engstrom, is defending the price tag.

"I look at the waterfront and I think it's the biggest redevelopment opportunity that's going to in my lifetime, and if we're going to do that, we should be it right and do it well," he said.

He also points to a long-standing ordinance that requires all public projects in Seattle to include art that is equal to 1 percent of the total cost of the project.

He also says the final project, which is scheduled to be completed by 2020, could attract millions of tourists every year.

The City started reviewing artist applications on Wednesday and will make a final decision in December.