During the Salida City Council on Tuesday August 4, the Council voted to approve a Professional Services Agreement with Hittle Landscape Architects in a five to one vote. For months the Salida Public Art Commission has been planning a new public art project that will be located at the corner of First and G Street, the site of the old skate park.
The Public Art Commission was created specifically to plan and oversee (mostly outdoor) art installations throughout Salida.
During the meeting, Councilmembers Pollock and Critelli both expressed concerns from citizens in their ward about losing the original skate park. Ultimately the agreement was approved as the city is just completing a new, million-dollar skate park. The art project has been dubbed “The Diversity of the Spirit that is Salida.”
On Thursday, August 5, the Public Art Commission met with T.J. Hittle, the architect that both the council and committee approved. This was their first face-to-face planning session and most of the discussion was around expectations for the project and the committees’ intentions for the project. In a presentation to the city council, the committee listed the five following intentions for the project:
- Preserve Heritage— to include historic and cultural references to signify the past and inform modern “explorers”
- Landmark— to be iconic and “Instagrammable”; more than just a welcome sign
- Visually Inviting— something that connects the immediate area with surrounding vistas; a place to gather
- Beautiful and Durable –- a collection of visually interesting and interactive elements for all ages
- Year-round access— a celebration of all seasons through unique layers; an alternative programmable space
Other things touched on during the meeting included accessibility for all, potential public needs such as access to water, no light pollution, and other potential features of the project.
The next step in this project’s process is to host a public meeting where Hittle and the Committee will hear community input on what they want for this project. Hittle is a landscape architect so he will design and oversee the project as it is built.
Hittle told Ark Valley Voice after the meeting “I am excited about this project. I’ve lived in Salida off and on since 2005 when I built a house in Chaffee County. With that regard, what I’m excited about is to hear what the public has to say about the property and what its potentials might be. I just wanted to make sure that the committee knows and anybody that’s interested knows that I am a blank canvas at this point in time. So, I’m just going to let the public drive the project.”
The Public Art Commission, in partnership with Hittle will host a public input meeting at the end of August. More details to come.