Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

August 30, 2012

Garden Club member defends cross walk sculptures on Square

Daily Iowegian


Dear Editor,
Views of the garden sculptures placed on the east side of the Centerville square have been mixed. Some Iowegian posts have included the words "eyesore" and "hideous." While this obviously was never the Centerville Garden Club's intent, they would like to share their reasoning behind their latest purchase and edition to the "world's largest square."
The local Centerville Garden Club commissioned the sculptures from a local metal worker as a way to tackle a couple of issues and to continue their efforts to beautify the Centerville community. We like the possibility of the multiple uses these structures allow and would like to see the other crosswalks filled with the same trio of sculptures.
The major use of the sculptures is for safety issues. The structures should prove effective to prevent vehicular traffic in the pedestrian crosswalks. While no signage indicates the brick crosswalks are only for pedestrians, their presence prevents this traffic and hopefully makes the crosswalks safer. The original plans for the crosswalks had included curbs, which were never installed and would have had potential problems due to the way the street is used for local events.
A second use for the structures was to decorate the flower pots on the square in front of local businesses. In December and the winter months, most of these pots remain empty. The Garden Club believed the structures could add interest, provide the possibility for holiday decorations and make the square more festive.
During the rest of the year the sculptures could stand in the crosswalks. But even here there is the possibility of adding seasonal decorations to make them aesthetically pleasing and interesting. There is even the possibility that the sculptures could be used in interesting ways during Pancake Day, the Wine Fest and other events on the square. The club has some very artistic members with great ideas.
Joyce Beiber, Chamber of Commerce director, commented that there seems to be some confusion about the sculptures. Beiber encourages citizens to be open-minded about the sculptures.
"We shouldn't be too quick to go to the negative side," she said.
As long as the sculptures serve a purpose, are aesthetically pleasing and, don't detract, Beiber believes they have the potential to serve the community well.
The Centerville City Council voted to allow the Garden Club to place the structures in the east crosswalk on a trial basis. Three obelisks of varied sizes are part of the installation. We hope to change any negative opinions as we also consider the possibilities of the sculptures to add interest to a thriving downtown business district.
The Centerville Garden Club has a mission to beautify the Centerville community. They have planted the courthouse lawn, purchased, planted and maintained the pots on the square. They have weeded the streets a couple of blocks in every direction from the square even when local businesses have chosen not to pay attention to these kind of details. The Garden Club helped plant the trees on State Street, the plants at the Post Office and the flower bed at Morgan Cline City Park. They have planted, watered and maintained the corner of Highway 2 and 5.
Plans are currently underway to install pots on the Centerville levee as a way to beautify and show pride in our community. The Garden of the Month honors are awarded by the club. And the annual Demin and Diamonds event and Tour of Gardens are money-making events and activities to promote our hometown.
Elaine Daniels Schweizer
Centerville Garden Club member