More Santa Clarita Residents Say 'Do Nothing' For Newhall Roundabout Art
At a recent Santa Clarita City Council meeting, officials questioned whether the Arts Commission should be provided with more resources to gussy up the center of the much ballyhooed Newhall roundabout at the intersection Newhall Avenue, Fifth Street and Main Street in Old Town Newhall.
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However, after pulling the plug on the art plans for the traffic circle while city officials solicited more feedback, the results are in from a city website survey, and most residents who participated want a project with a pricetag decidedly less than the $45,000 city officials allotted.
In fact, more residents feel the city should “Do nothing.”
City Council members enlisted the Arts Commission to select an art piece for the roundabout, which council members described as an important facade for Santa Clarita’s efforts in revitalizing downtown Newhall.
“We want residents to help us decide which iconic piece of art should be the centerpiece of Old Town Newhall’s roundabout project,” said Mayor Bob Kellar. “This intersection will serve as a southern gateway into the community, so we want something that reflects our past, present and future.”
The survey said:
“The following are the options identified by the City Council. Please select your favorite:
A depiction of 1920’s Western film star William S. Hart or William S. Hart with his horse Fritz (129 responses)
Art piece in another location in Newhall (not in roundabout) (8 responses)
Landscaping (60 responses)
Water feature (48 responses)
Live tree (97 responses)
Do nothing (189 responses)
Other, please explain: _ (99 responses)
There were a total of 630 responses, with dozens of residents also choosing an option, then writing a comment, as well.
Of those surveyed, 189 asked that the city do nothing; 129 asked for a tribute to Bill Hart; 97 felt that an oak tree, which is part of the city’s symbol, be planted; 60 went for the landscaping option; 48 wanted a water feature, such as a fountain; and eight voted for art in another location.
“I think the City Council should listen to the people,” said City Councilman TimBen Boydston.
“If we leave it with nothing in it, at least in the the short term, it gives us the advantage of putting in a Christmas tree, or maybe put some temporary art, like the ‘Ever-changing Wall,’” he said, referencing the Newhall mural.
The city is set to discuss the results during Tuesday’s meeting at City Hall.
After being decidedly underwhelmed by the Arts Commission choices, due, in part, to numerous complaints about the two choices yielded, a survey was commissioned back in September.
Some questioned if the problem with the choices, as it pertained to all the negative feedback, was that the Arts Commission didn’t have enough resources.
City Councilwoman Laurene Weste echoed community input she had received that called for a more conspicuous nod to William Hart, the Western film star who has numerous agencies and facilities named in his honor in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Arts and Recreation Commission Rick Gould noted that preliminary estimates for such a bronze sculpture would be in the range of around $100,000 to $150,000, and fundraising efforts were mentioned.
“Obviously, this was underfunded,” Weste said, at a Sept. 11 council meeting, where the Arts Commission’s original choices were announced. “One thing that’s critical is that we need to nail it down and get it started. This is the entrance of your old town, it’s important to business that whatever is done there is done well.”
Those statements were in response to two choices presented by the Arts Commission, following their standard bidding process and numerous attempts to gain public input.
The choices were criticized by residents, and City Council members then decided to ask Santa Clarita residents online, with a top-of-the-page banner survey at santa-clarita.com.
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