One plan involves making Liberal more identifiable with Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz through street light banners, statues
By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Leader & Times
The initiative to give Liberal a much more appealing atmosphere has been on the minds of those in the city’s Economic Development Department lately. So much so, in fact, they have been toying with designs of possible new banners for light poles throughout the downtown district.
Economic Development Director Jeff Parsons gave the city commission an update last week of some of the programs his department has been working on – public art, which will not only include banners, but statues as well.
“Back in 2009, (commissioners) approved projects for North Kansas, for downtown and for South Kansas in public art,” Parsons said. “These are some things we are doing in conjunction with those programs. Part of what we would like to do would be to redo the banners that we are using for Kansas Avenue. If we can, we are looking to extending these banners onto U.S. Highway 54.”
Parsons presented two prospective banners in an effort to give examples and to receive input. He said the banners presented are in no way set in stone, they are simply ideas. Parsons credited Virginia Webb with the design of both banners.
“We wanted to give you a little bit of an update on what we were doing,” he said. “These are some things we have just been toying with. We are kind of tying everything together with Liberal being Dorothy’s home.
“So, these are some ideas we have come up with just in our department,” he continued. “The Ruby Slippers could be something for the normal, nine months of the year use and the snowflake is an idea we had with the gingham material from Dorothy’s dress, those we could use from November through February for winter.”
Again, Parsons explained the two banners presented were only ideas the department has been toying with. He also suggested extending the banners to a larger portion of the city.
“In full size, they would be nice and big as well as easily read,” he said. “These are just to give you an idea of what we are working on. We would like to get Highway 54 nailed down so we could do something with that. We will need to talk about how far they would extend out and how many banners we would need. But, these are just ideas we are coming up with.
“Right now, downtown, we are basically doing the banners from Sixth Street on south,” he explained. “We would like to extend that to go from 11th Street to Pine. There are about 140 to 145 poles from Sixth Street to Pine, this would give us a nice, uniform look.
“Then if you go from Six Points to Clay, just count the number of poles the power company has, there is about 70 along there,” he added. “We need to get some ideas as to what that might cost us, we have a rough idea of what it would be, but we still aren’t sure if we can even put those banners on their poles. If we can’t use their poles, then we need to figure out what our options are with that. Would we put up our own poles? Or would we want to do anything at all? So, that is just something we are thinking about.”
In a further effort to beautify Liberal, very soon, small statues of Dorothy will be adorning corners of the downtown area. LaFondFx of Denver is currently comprising examples of sketches for the statues that will be transformed into concrete, life-like statues by Yoder Concrete of Burton.
“About our public art, our Dorothy statues, I talked to LaFondFx,” Parsons said. “They are working on concept art right now. I was hoping we would have something by now, but if not we will have something very soon – within the next week or so. They told me they are already gathering materials to make the molds with, and casting some of the parts that don’t require posing – hands, feet and that kind of thing. We will have them to show you sometime very soon.”
Parsons again reminded the commission the banners were only prospective ideas to be expounded upon and discussed, then approved by the commission, before any ideas are set in stone. The statues, however, he said will soon be set to sketches to be reviewed and approved by the commission.