Power plant scraps to be turned into art

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South Bay Power Plant - implosionCHULA VISTA, Calif. — The South Bay Power Plant may be all rubble in Chula Vista now, but its 50-year history will soon live on thanks to the hands of one local artist.

The plant which was powered the City of Chula Vista for over five decades was leveled back in February to make way for development.

Chula Vista steel artist Michael Leaf is charged with preserving its history.

“It really is an honor,” said the man known as the “Michelangelo of Steel.”

Michael Leaf - sculptorLeaf, who began turning steel into art years ago, toured the site soon after the plant’s implosion searching for material to build a sculpture.

“I want it to be mechanical and I want it to be able to create power, in honor of the plant and the community it served over the years,” said Leaf as he gave Fox 5 a tour of his shop and some of his art pieces.

The 28-year-old self-taught craftsman brought back nearly 9,000 pounds of steel scraps from the site.

“This is a section of a turbine and a piece of the foundation,” said Leaf as he looked over his new material that he’ll use to erect his masterpiece, he expects to be between 16 and 18 feet tall.

Leaf will also incorporate an iconic plaque from the plant’s commission.

The sculptures cost and location is still in the works, but Leaf didn’t want to wait until the details were ironed out to begin developing his ideas. He hopes it will find a home somewhere in the 550-acre South Bay development project.

“I just hope it inspires people to create and imagine,” said Leaf.

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