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Council OKs new mural

Arts commission choice a subject of debate
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Following some controversy, City Council unanimously approved a mural of the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge to be painted on the side of the Rico’s Barber Shop and Depoe Bay Coffee Shop building, off of High Street. At the heart of the debate Monday night was that the wall was originally designated by the Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee (SHAAC) to host an agriculture-related mural. Robert Turner, a committee member of the Arts Commission, said it went ahead with the proposal despite the Streetscape committee’s recommendations because the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge Mural, designed by 2011 Placer High graduate Archie Warren, is most suited for that particular wall off of High Street. “This particular painting lends itself to a much larger area and a much larger feeling,” Turner said. “The community has been requesting that the committee do something on the side of Rico’s and Depoe Bay.” Turner said the mural would be created with donated paint and volunteer painters, many of whom are students at Placer High School. The cost to the city will be $1,500, which will pay for a special topcoat that will protect the mural from damage from ultra-violet rays. The project is also meant to be a tribute to the bridge, according to Warren. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Mountain Quarries Railroad Bridge. Initially, council member and SHAAC committee member Keith Nesbitt said he would only support the project if it was moved to a wall in Central Square, where it would cover an existing mural of dancing dogs. Warren said the wall in Central Square didn’t offer the right perspective to view his painting. He also said the High Street wall is along the route people would take to get to the bridge. The artist of the current mural gave her blessing to have it repainted, according to Warren. After hearing the rest of the debate, Nesbitt voted in favor of the mural at the originally proposed location. “I fought the good battle for the SHAAC. I’ve got to change my vote and let’s get it done,” Nesbitt later said. Mayor Dr. Bill Kirby said he was in support of the mural, but was concerned that the two committees were at odds. Originally, Kirby said he wasn’t ready to vote Monday night. “I love this painting. I love the enthusiasm. I’d buy a print of it,” Kirby said. “We have got to step back and say, ‘this wall wasn’t designated for this purpose.’ I still want the committees to have a little more rapport.” Kirby said he wanted to know why the Arts Commission moved forward with presenting a plan that didn’t fit with SHAAC’s guidelines. Arts Commission committee member Randy Mealhow said after evaluating different designs, some of which were agriculture-themed, Warren’s design was still the favorite. Council member Kevin Hanley said despite both committees’ recommendations, it was ultimately up to City Council to make the final call. “I think the SHAAC Committee did its job. Now it’s the City Council’s responsibility to make a decision on this,” Hanley said. “I think that we can’t refuse a gift. This great recommendation put out by SHAAC is really a great guideline. It’s not etched in granite.” Turner said the mural would probably take about a month to complete. He said he is planning to paint over the initial mural with a scroll asking the community for paint donations, new or leftover, of any color. “I aspire to have extra-vibrant colors, conveying the full color wheel,” Warren said. “I believe the color will attract more tourist revenue. It’s been proven in fact that the arts and culture do that and the centennial is coming up.” In other news: n City Council passed a first-reading outlawing panhandling at gas stations in Auburn. The ordinance is similar to one already passed on July 25, which prohibits panhandling within 15 feet of any entrance or exit of a bank, or automated teller machine. Council Member Kevin Hanley said he brought the ordinance before the committee because the person is a captive audience while they are filling their car with fuel or air. n City Council passed a resolution in support of working with a regional water coalition to ensure that the water supply interests of Placer County residents are protected in any future legislation. Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.