Council approves arts advisory commission plan to work with two Civic Campus artists

The Mountlake Terrace City Council earlier this week unanimously approved a proposal from the city’s Arts Advisory Commission to work with two artists to create distinct sculpture artworks as part of the new Civic Campus.

CJ Rench and Louise McDowell were the two artists chosen. They were among four finalist artists who in April had submitted renderings and made presentations for creating public art in the future Town Center Park/Plaza. The plaza will be located between the new city hall and 232nd Street Southwest and 58th Avenue West.

Under city policy, the Civic Campus redevelopment project – which includes a new city hall, police station addition and park/plaza area –  requires that 1 percent of the construction budget fund visual art.

After discussions during previous meetings, the commission recommended in June that the city pursue working with both Rench and McDowell. Both artists have agreed to share the $87,000 budget between them.

Assistant City Manager Stephen Clifton told the council during its July 2 business meeting that arts advisory commission appreciated the two artists’ willingness to modify their proposals and create sculptures that are unique to the community. “Each artist will scale back the overall scope of their proposal and (agreed) that the overall project budget will be shared between the two artists,” Clifton said. In addition, Rench and McDowell have agreed to work with commission members “to collaborate and discuss refining the proposed concepts and possible locations for placing the art,” he added.

Rench’s proposal, “Mountlake Natives,” includes sculpture designs inspired by native grasses from the Mountlake Terrace area. The project would include a grouping of three 16- to 25-foot-tall grasses made of stainless steel and mild steel.

McDowell has proposed three-dimensional, cast bronze figures that reflect the family-oriented spirit of Mountlake Terrace and the community’s diversity and the “Circle of Life.”

In other business, the council approved agreements related to the planned application of herbicides to control invasive weeds in Lake Ballinger, which will be proceeding now that the city has received the appropriate permit from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The first agreement, between Mountlake Terrace and the City of Edmonds, acknowledges that Edmonds supports and gives permission for the weed control, which will occur partially in Edmonds’ jurisdiction. Other agreements include one — for $3,969 — with consulting firm TetraTech to provide training and technical assistance to City of MLT staff regarding the weed control process. The other — for $17,939,45 — with licensed herbicide applicator AquaTechnex. That firm will be responding for posting notices on lake front property, herbicide application, concentration sampling and reporting.

All costs for both agreements are funded completely by a Washington State Department of Ecology grant to the City of Mountlake Terrace.

In his report to the council July 1, City Mananger Scott Hugill noted that the city’s Planning Commission is holding a public hearing Wednesday, July 10 to review the proposed Town Center Subarea Plan. Following that hearing, the commission will make a recommendation to the council, and Hugill said the council could start reviewing the plan as soon as Monday, July 22. While the council wouldn’t normally meet on that day, “we’d ask to get started on this subarea plan early so you can work on it through the second half of July and into August with the community,” Hugill said.

The proposed amended Town Center Subarea Plan would encourage revitalization of the Town Center in anticipation of light rail service to the city in 2024.


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