City mulls adding art to roundabouts

Mayor?s Committee recommends monuments to Rocklin?s railroad, ranches, granite mining legacy
By: Jon Brines, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Former Rocklin City Council member Kathy Lund suggested to the city place public art in the median of the planned roundabouts along Rocklin Road. ?The theme for the roundabouts is ?Rock, Rails and Ranches,?? Lund told the council on June 12. With the Meyers Street roundabout already under construction the city is considering implementing the proposal on the other five roundabouts planned for Rocklin Road. The report suggests using reclaimed mining artifacts from  the Big Gun Quarry as centerpieces or possibly bronze statues commissioned by artists. Lund presented the Mayor?s Roundabout Landscape Committee report, which included council member Diana Ruslin, with ideas and possible funding sources that included federal and state grant opportunities. ?Improvements proposed in this document do not come out of the general fund,? Lund said. ?But, if the council desires to place one or two statues, it could cost the city some money. So we included some funding opportunities.? Lund suggested the city could pass a measure to put one-half to 2 percent of the capital improvement budget to art, but preferred donations from residents. ?What I like best is local fundraising. That really gets the public to buy into what you?re doing,? Lund said. ?All you have to look back to is the St. Mary?s Church relocation. The public donated to that and the public really supported that project.? Mayor Brett Storey said he liked the concept, but didn?t want the city paying for statues. ?I am certainly not going to ever ask for statues with taxes or fees, whatever you want to call them, or any city money to get it done. This is a grass roots project, a great idea,? Storey said. ?We have enough historical society members, Rotary members, etc., who will come to arms and make sure this thing happens.? It?s unclear if the city will make it happen but one thing is certain, according to City Manager Rick Horst, construction on the Meyers Street Roundabout will not be delayed. PG&E crews have started trench work to move utility lines. ?We are under tight (schedule),? Horst said. Horst wants construction finished by the time Rocklin Elementary, just blocks away, opens in the fall. Council member George Magnuson said that if the other roundabouts will have monuments historic artifacts should be placed at Meyers later. Right now, Magnuson added, it?s important to successfully complete Meyers to get the public on board for the other proposed roundabouts. ________ Good to Know: Roundabout funding Grove and Meyers Streets: $3.7 million Interstate 80 at Rocklin Road: $20 million Roundabout art budget: $0 ~ Source: City of Rocklin ?If this isn?t successfully accepted by the citizens, there will be a lot of squawking and a lot of problems for the other five roundabouts,? Magnuson said. ?So we have to do everything we can to make this one as acceptable as we can.? Storey noted that in order for the roundabouts to be safe, the center median needs landscaping. ?I am concerned that if we have a flat (median) it does cause more problems. I see them every day when I?m up in Tahoe when I?m there,? Storey explained. ?The idea is that (drivers) are not supposed to be able to see anyone else (on the other side of the roundabout). You are supposed to expect that there is going to be someone to be there and it forces you to look ? forces you to be safe.? Concerns about median monuments distracting drivers were not discussed at the council meeting. One senior Rocklin Police official confirmed they were not consulted by the Roundabout Landscape Committee. Totaling $3.7 million, two council-approved roundabouts at Meyers and Grove Streets along Rocklin Road will be constructed over the next five years. The Capital Improvement Plan also includes a $20 million plan to put two roundabouts at the on- and off-ramps of Interstate 80 at Rocklin Road. Long term plans also include a roundabout at Granite and Aguilar Roads. ?When the time comes to design the next roundabout, we hope this report will come off the shelf and the ideas suggested will be considered,? Lund said.