OPINION: Rapid City needs art policyWe are surprised that the city, with a statue or other artwork on almost every corner in the downtown area, does not already have such a policy in place.
By: Editorial board, The Rapid City Journal
Rapid City’s Parks & Recreation Advisory Board is reviewing a public art policy that is aimed at preventing city parks from becoming cluttered with memorials to the deceased.
The city already has a policy regarding memorial benches and plantings, which are not generating the same concern as larger memorials.
“Memorials are typically, in my opinion, for cemeteries,” board member Rick Askvig said. “We don’t want our parks to become cemeteries.”
The board began reviewing a proposed policy on public art prior to the recent unveiling of a proposed memorial to the Rapid City police officers who died in last year’s shooting. The police department is requesting space in Founders Park for a 14-foot memorial to Ryan McCandless and Nick Armstrong, who died in the Aug. 2, 2011, shooting. The memorial features two bronze life-size eagles soaring between granite monoliths with engravings of McCandless and Armstrong.
The advisory board unanimously approved the police memorial while delaying action on its proposed public art policy.
The policy would set minimum standards for public art displays and the route through various city boards that must review and approve projects before the Parks and Recreation director and Parks & Recreation Board can sign off on the proposal.
The city has no problem with memorial trees and benches that are dedicated to loved ones. According to interim Parks & Recreation Director Lon Van Deusen, there are more than 100 trees in Memory Lane in Sioux Park and about 50 benches across Rapid City, mostly in Canyon Lake Park, Sioux Park and along the greenway.
Rapid City could use a public art policy. We are surprised that the city, with a statue or other artwork on almost every corner in the downtown area, does not already have such a policy in place.
The Parks & Recreation Advisory Board and City Council should adopt a public art policy before the city comes to wish it had one in place.