While covering the closure of the Keene Road Bridge this week, I asked Richland Civil Engineer Steve Stairs why the new roundabout at Leslie and Clearwater hasn’t been landscaped yet.
“There’s been a change,” Stairs told me.
At its completion in May, the cities of Kennewick and Richland had planned to haul in basalt, lay sod, and plant shrubbery. But a month later, drivers continue to negotiate the roundabout’s barren nucleus of dirt–and dust when the wind occasionally kicks up (For non-locals, the Tri-Cities has a bit of reputation for its windstorms).
What’s the hold up? Instead of rock, grass, and bushes, the traffic and public works departments have decided this southern entrance to the two cities calls for some artwork.
The cities have commissioned local artist Michael Rastovich and his son Joseph, who have come up with this. Bunch Grass, a steel sculpture that will welcome motorists from Oregon and Seattle, and greet daily commuters and the school children at Cottonwood Elementary.
Rastovich says the finished piece may look a little different from these renderings. He’ll be out at the roundabout Tuesday when the concrete guys pour the footings for the piece, and then he’ll go from there.
So what are you thinking? Typically, when a city commissions an artist to create something for a public building, park, or street corner, the resulting unveiling raises eyebrows and sometimes a stink; some people will love it, some will call it a waste of taxpayers money, and if you ask some, they’ll respond, “What artwork?”
TAKE THE POLL!