ROM FRIDAY'S HENDERSONVILLE TIMES-NEWS and blueridgenow.com web site
After an hour of debate over who should handle Hendersonville's upcoming public art projects on Main Street, City Council members Thursday narrowed the field of potential artists to four.
The art pieces are planned to be built in the 500 and 600 blocks of North Main Street during the third phase of downtown streetscape improvements, set to begin this winter.
More than 30 artists applied to design and construct the art projects - a fountain in the First Citizens Bank Plaza at Sixth Avenue and Main Street and a “gateway” sculpture near Umi restaurant at Seventh Avenue and Main Street. The city’s Public Art Steering Committee selected the top three finalists for each project to present to the city’s cabinet.
The top two from each project (Bate and Trapp for the fountain and Proctor and White for the gateway) may be asked to join City Council at an interim meeting before November.
“What happens if we delay this? This is a big decision and it’s very new to us,” said Councilman Ron Stephens, who added he was not comfortable with making a decision Thursday night.
Peter Goldsmith, a member of the Public Art Steering Committee and an Emmy Award-winning television producer, encouraged the council to consider the project carefully. City Manager Bo Ferguson said that tabling the decision until November should not be too much of an issue with the streetscape’s construction timeline.
“What kind of funding are we talking about for each project?” Caraker asked.
Main Street Director Lew Holloway said funding for the public art portions of the phase three downtown improvements were included ed in the city’s budget - $70,000 for the fountain and $40,000 for the gateway art.
In other action, the council unanimously approved financing for the purchase of a fire engine to replace one far past its prime, and for equipment for the fire department, in the amount of $578,171, which was more than $20,000 under budget.
Ferguson also updated council on the responsibilities, roles and costs of bringing building inspections in-house, after Volk said she had heard complaints from business owners about the tedious process working through the county. No action was taken.