The city is trying to have more nice things — despite the attitude of whoever spray-painted “This city doesn’t deserve nice things” on the boardwalk of the Creek Path a year or two back — and events of this week had me wondering about how we’re going to keep them nice.
A piece, the parking meter, was broken off from Patrick Farrow’s sculpture “The Leash” in Depot Park. City officials put it down to “horsing around” rather than an attempt to do damage. It was not the first time the statue was broken, nor even the first time since I’ve been writing this column that our city’s public art has been defaced — purposefully or otherwise. I recall one of the murals getting tagged — though if I wrote about it, our archives are being coy — and more famously a local youth painted an eyepatch on the Vietnam memorial.
The latter took some effort to fix because of the porous nature of marble — though the sculptor doing the repairs told me a special coating applied ahead of any vandalism can make getting the paint off easier. We’ve added several marble sculptures to the downtown with more to come. Are they protected?
“I don’t know if every single one of them is,” Steve Costello, organizer of the Rutland sculpture trail, said. “It’s a preference of the sculptors. What I’ve been told is some artists think you shouldn’t put anything on them. Others think it’s great because it preserves them. ... Anything in life is risk, but we’ve been pleased with the way they’ve been received so far.”
Rail car update
Then there’s the historic rail car.
Vermont Railway restored it and parked it at the Vermont Farmers Food Center in 2013. It was supposed to be housed in some sort of enclosure.
That never happened.
It suffered from the elements and from local youths breaking in and using it as a hideout — at least two break-ins were reported last year.
At the April 15 Board of Aldermen meeting, Mayor David Allaire said work on the enclosure had begun.
That was two months ago and it still wasn’t covered when I drove by on my way to work Friday morning. VFFC President Greg Cox said the work inside the car had been done, the glass had been replaced on the doors and a crew was preparing to put the cover up.
“We’ll be trying to raise some more money because we don’t have enough money to finish,” he said — the Board of Aldermen voted in 2015 to contribute $33,000 toward the enclosure. “We’re trying to do it as efficiently as possible. I would suggest we’re going to need another $20,000 to do it. ... We’ve got the footings in, and we’re ready to rock. It’ll be started sometime this summer and we’re hoping, fingers crossed, it’ll be ready when the farmers’ market opens in November.”
At 7 p.m. Monday, the Board of Aldermen will meet. The agenda includes the treasurer’s report for May, paperwork for multiple public works projects and a pair of executive sessions regarding labor relations agreements.
At 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Board of Civil Authority is scheduled to have an organizational meeting preparing for tax appeals.
Wednesday, the Development Review Board meets at 6 p.m. to look at an application to put a mobile home on a Stratton Road property.
At 10 a.m. Friday, ribbon cutting for segment five of the Creek Path is scheduled in Meadow Street Park.