VANDALIA - The Vandalia Art Park is starting to take shape, and construction is currently underway on a walkway and bridge that will join the Park to the property of the Vandalia-Butler Historical Society.
The Park, which is located on E. Alkaline Springs Road across from Butler High School, was formerly known at Lichtenfels Park. The Vandalia City Council renamed the park earlier this year.
The project is a partnership between the R. B. Jergens Co., the Rotary Club of Vandalia, the Vandalia-Butler Historical Society and the City of Vandalia
“The plan for the art park is to serve as a walking sculpture park,” said Vandalia City Councilwoman Candice Farst. “There will be pathways meandering through the south two-thirds of the property with the northern one-third left as open play space at this time.”
Over the past few weeks, a clearing has been created between the park and Historical Society grounds and a pathway created for pedestrians.
R.B. Jergens used a special piece of equipment called a “Hydro-Ax” to grind trees and brush while creating a clearing of approximately 50 feet wide and 150 feet long. A bridge crew then excavated the area and poured concrete bridge foundations along each side of the stream that flows through the area. They also cleared out the stream, cut out, graded. and added gravel to make the pathways that will ultimately join paths on both sides.
“R. B. Jergens donated its labor and equipment for this project while serving as a partner committed to building a better community with a richer tradition,” said Farst.
The bridge will be built by the Rotary Club of Vandalia and will sit upon the foundations to complete the first and largest phase of this project. The name of the bridge will be The Vandalia Rotary Bridge—Bridging History with Culture. Rotary Club of Vandalia will be working to add other features to this cleared area.
Installation of the pathways in the park will begin in the soon and continue through 2015. The Art Park will use sculptures leased from the Midwest Sculpture Initiative which will be selected and approved by the Public Art in Vandalia Committee. Sculptures will be installed in the spring of 2015.
“A bench program will also be part of the park,” said Farst. “Currently, the plan is to leave the drive on the eastern edge of the property as is.”
Farst said that the grasse in the park has been cut and allowed to grow in a way to see the location of the proposed walkways. Some of the grass will be allowed to grow to serve as a backdrop to the sculptures. Final plans are still being developed.