By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Seeking input from neighbors and looking at potential costs to the city led the Delano City Council to table any action on a proposed art sculpture on city property, just north of the Delano City Hall/Senior Center parking lot along Elm Avenue.
Debbie DeBeer, working with the Delano Council for Arts and Culture, first approached the city this spring with a request to construct a community sculpture along Highway 12 in the area across from the Vanderlinde Group’s office building.
“This is the first you’ve heard of this project since the past spring,” Kern told the council at Tuesday’s meeting. The original proposal called for a 24-foot granite pillar on top of a granite base, with artifacts of Delano’s history intertwined around the pillar, Kern said in a request for action to the council.
The intent of the project is to be a collaboration between the Delano Council for Arts and Culture and the Delano Middle School art program, Kern noted.
Since the original proposal this spring, Kern said work has taken place to determine the structural elements needed to secure a structure of that size. He said a “significant amount of problems” presented themselves with a structure of this magnitude at this location, including that a significant foundation would be needed to secure a structure of that size from settling.
In September, project representatives and city staff began discussing alternative projects and locations, Kern said in the request for action to the council. The location now proposed is in the green space north of the Delano City Hall/Senior Center parking lot, along Elm Avenue.
The proposal brought to the city council calls for a reduced pillar that would be 8 feet tall, instead of the originally proposed 24-foot height. The concept also involves a second 8-foot pillar tipped over at the base, appearing as if it fell off the one standing pillar. The historical artifacts would then be attached to the structure.
A crushed rock base would need to be established at the base of the structure, and paths created from the area sidewalks to the structure itself, Kern noted in the request for action. The project group has asked the city for assistance in preparing the site.
The Delano Council for Arts and Culture has received a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board for the project.
Kern said the plans were submitted to the city late last week, and said organizers would like to move forward with it as soon as possible in order to ensure use of the grant funding. He added he is not certain all funds were yet in place for the project to move forward.
Council Member Dan Vick said he wanted to know what city funds may be involved in this project.
Kern said staff time and use of city equipment are proposed be involved in the project, however, out-of-pocket expenses would need to be reimbursed.
Discussion took place on the issue by the council, and Mayor Dale Graunke asked if the city engineer has had the chance to review the new proposal, and suggested a compaction test may be necessary.
Council Member Betsy Stolfa asked if there is anything underground that could potentially have access blocked if this structure is placed in this location.
“It seems like a very tight spot,” Stolfa said. “It doesn’t seem like there is a lot of land there.”
It was noted there are sprinkler heads and lines on that location that would need to be relocated, but, other than that, nothing underground.
“It could be a real good thing to have that there,” Graunke said of the sculpture, but added he didn’t want to be blind-sided by unknown costs.
Stolfa said this design seems more in proportion with the location on Highway 12.
“It seems out of proportion to me,” Stolfa said of the Elm Avenue location. “Once it’s there, you’re not going to not notice it.”
The council asked if any adjoining or neighboring property owners had been notified of the plan to put the sculpture in this area, and Kern said that had not taken place.
“If you have to live next to a gigantic art sculpture, it’d be nice to know before,” Stolfa said.
Discussion took place about, perhaps, keeping the present design concept, but moving it back to the Highway 12 location, or also utilizing the “triangle” in Highway 12 near Wright County Road 30 (by Dairy Queen and the Country Mall).
Delano Middle School art teacher Rachel Anderson was at the meeting, and said the grant expires in spring 2012, and said artist Zoran Mojsilov has been in the classroom working with students on the project. Mojsilov is the artist who worked on the entrance monuments into Delano at the intersection of Highway 12 and Bridge Avenue.
Graunke said it’s only fair to obtain input on the project from people who would see it every day.
“We’re deciding what is going on in their neighborhood,” Graunke said, encouraging additional input on the sculpture be sought.
Delano resident Harlan Lewis asked that, if one of the project goals is to have it be something the senior center patrons can enjoy, input also be sought from them on the scope of the project. Anderson said this could be done.
The council decided to table the proposal until its Tuesday, Nov. 1 meeting at 7 p.m. at the Delano City Hall to allow time for public input and to figure out what costs may be incurred by the city.
Council Members Derek Schansberg and Holly Schrupp were absent.