Parks board OKs de­sign for project

Three struc­tures set for Frisco Trail

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - ALEXAN­DER NICOLL

FAYET­TEVILLE — The Frisco Trail will re­ceive a lit­tle bit of a face lift af­ter board mem­bers unan­i­mously ap­proved the de­sign plans for the Ra­zor­back Green­way Gallery struc­tures Mon­day night at the Parks and Recre­ation meet­ing.

Three struc­tures will be placed on the back­side of elec­tri­cal boxes along the trail to cre­ate a ro­tat­ing cu­rated photo gallery. They will hide the boxes from be­ing seen on the trail, said Pax­ton Roberts, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Bike NWA, which is the or­ga­ni­za­tion do­nat­ing the frames for the trail.

The elec­tri­cal boxes that will be cov­ered are on the Frisco Trail be­tween the park­ing lot of the Wal­ton Arts Cen­ter and Ge­orge’s Ma­jes­tic Lounge off of Dick­son Street. The gallery struc­tures will be at­tached to elec­tri­cal sup­port frames and will not in­ter­fere with ac­cess to the boxes.

The struc­tures are made from steel and will fea­ture laser-cut de­pic­tions of the Ozark Moun­tains on top of them. Low- wattage, LED light bulbs will be in­stalled be­hind the moun­tains and give off a green glow at night. The words “Green­way Gallery” are also cut into the frame.

“We wanted to do some­thing that looked rus­tic and in­dus­trial but also had an ode to the Nat­u­ral State,” said Mike Abb, cre­ative di­rec­tor at the Run­way Group.

The pic­tures will be pro­vided by stu­dents from the Uni­ver­sity of Arkansas’ new So­cial In­no­va­tion pro­gram, which en­cour­ages stu­dents in the Wal­ton Col­lege of Busi­ness to en­gage and part­ner with dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions in the com­mu­nity. The pho­tos will highlight the work of these stu­dents and ro­tate on a quar­terly ba­sis with all pic­tures be­ing ap­proved by the Parks and Recre­ation Ad­vi­sory Board, Roberts said.

The only con­cerns raised by the board in­volved the height of the struc­tures, which will hang over the trail. Roberts said the height is about 8 feet, which would pro­vide enough clear­ance for some­one to go un­der.

“I like them; I think they’re great,” chair­man Richie Lamb said. “We just have to make sure no one pops a wheelie.”

The struc­tures are built and wait­ing on ap­proval from the City Coun­cil to be in­stalled.

Roberts said he hopes they would be able to be put in as soon as pos­si­ble but wants them to be placed be­fore fall at the lat­est.

“We want to give peo­ple time to ex­pe­ri­ence them,” Roberts said.

The whole project will cost $5,000 to $6,500, with all of the money com­ing from a grant from the Wal­ton Fam­ily Foun­da­tion, Roberts said.

Bike NWA part­nered with the Run­way Group, which con­nects non­profit groups with the foun­da­tion, to fix the prob­lem of the un­sightly elec­tri­cal boxes on the trail. The or­ga­ni­za­tions ap­proached the board in March to get ap­proval for the con­cept of the gal­leries but didn’t have fi­nal­ized plans un­til now.

“The in­spi­ra­tion re­ally started from the ug­li­ness of it,” Abb said. “It was born of, ‘How can we make some­thing this ugly bet­ter?’”

“They were eye­sores in an other­wise beau­ti­ful area.”

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