Sculptures could be added to downtown landscape

A public art program could soon result in sculptures being on display in downtown Monticello.

The idea of partnering with the Public Art League in Champaign was touted to city council members Monday. If undertaken, each sculpture would be leased for two years at a cost of $3,000. Sponsors would likely foot the cost, but city council approval would be needed to place artwork on public property.

Monticello Main Street Executive Director Kerry Redshaw said it would give people another reason to visit the retailers and restaurants downtown.

“It just gives another dimension to Monticello, and to come into Monticello,” she said, noting it would add to the appeal already created through national historic district designations.

“You have Charter Street, you have State Street. I just think it adds another dimension.”

“I think it’s worth pursuing, at least studying it,” said Mayor Larry Stoner, a retired music teacher. “There has been an awful lot of interest in the arts in this community in the time I’ve lived here, and probably a long time before that.”

Main Street volunteer Lori Lilly also felt sculptures could be an educational tool for local schools.

City Community Development Director Callie Jo McFarland said the city would likely start with two sculptures. The city may need to install concrete pads for the artwork.

Allerton Park & Retreat Center is one entity that has collaborated with the Art League to contract for local art from private artists.

McFarland said the project is still being discussed. She hopes to come back to the council with a contract prior to a public reveal from participating artists later this year.

Downtown boom
The mayor gave an encouraging report regarding the downtown business district, noting that six new businesses have opened in the past six months, with three more planned by the end of March.

Two other companies have relocated in the courthouse area, with two others changing ownership.

“That’s an estimated $700,000 in private investment in the downtown district in the last six months. That’s quite a bit,” said Stoner.

In other business, aldermen approved a measure that limits city employees to $300 in reimbursable expenses per day unless approved by the city council. The state mandated move is part of the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act.

It was also announced that registrations are still being accepted for summer baseball and softball programs.


 

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