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Grass Valley OKs sculpture at roundabout

The Grass Valley City Council gave unanimous approval Tuesday night to install a sculpture in the center of the Sierra College Drive roundabout.

The piece of art, done by the late John Mowen, had been at the Imaginarium of Nevada County until its closure in 2009. Mowen took possession of the sculpture in order to repair it, and it was his wish to have it placed at the roundabout, according to council member Howard Levine.

“John came to me asking if we could put it at the roundabout. He was willing to pay half, and I offered to help pay the other half,” Levine said.



In the end, enough donations were raised from the public to cover the installation cost.

“This is where John really wanted it to reside. He thought the sculpture would be really beautiful there,” Levine added.




According to Public Works Director Tim Kiser, there will be no foreseeable cost to the city concerning the sculpture, as it comes free on loan from the County Superintendent of Schools.

“It’s a unique opportunity for the city to add some artwork to the college roundabout,” Kiser said.

Not all agreed with the notion, however. Frank Willington voiced his displeasure of the chosen site for the art.

“John (Mowen) may have been a good sculptor, but he wasn’t good at picking a site,” Willington said. “It would be very nice if you could walk to, get up close, and observe the sculpture. But at a roundabout, you’re looking away from the center.”

The council also dealt with a proposed local plastic bag ban ordinance in light of recent events in the State Assembly, where the ordinance has stalled.

The unanimous theme continued, as the motion carried 5-0. The ordinance will regulate the use of plastic carry out bags and recyclable paper bags and promote the use of reusable bags in Grass Valley.

The stumbling block, according to Mayor Dan Miller, was California’s insistence on charging 10 cents per bag. By scrapping that idea locally, he said, they are able to establish the bag ban without facing major backlash.

“I’ve received so many calls from people thanking me for banning the plastic bags,” council member Lisa Swarthout said. “I think we’ve passed what the intent of the environmental issue was, which was to ban plastic bags. And we’ve done so without attaching a charge.”

The last piece of big business on the agenda was the Sutton Way rehabilitation project.

The council was recommended to award a contract to the lowest responsible bidder from eight separate bids. The contract was given to Central Valley Engineering, which will be tasked with resurfacing Sutton from Hospitality House to Dorsey Drive. In the worst areas, they will grind out the road and completely replace the asphalt. In other areas that are less damaged, an overlay of new asphalt will be placed on top of the existing layer.

To contact Staff Writer Spencer Kellar, email NCPCInternC@theunion.com or call 530-273-9561


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