The Granite Falls Chamber of Commerce wants to liven up the downtown plaza with a mixture of water, yogurt, buttermilk, beer and moss––and if a trial run on the south side of the K.K. Berge building goes without issue, the Granite Falls City Council will be open to it sometime down the road, said the city representatives during Monday night’s council meeting.
Granite Falls Chamber Director Nicole Zempel was present with Chamber of Commerce Project Coordinator intern, Kyrie Kotlowski, a Yellow Medicine East graduate who recently received a degree in photography from the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul.
Kotlowski said that she became aware of the concoction she calls ”Eco Art” while living in the cities. It is mixed, applied to a surface, and upon drying leaves behind only the design revealed in moss. It is much more attractive than its component parts may imply, she said.
“Eco Art, in my eyes, is hopefully a catalyst,” said Kotlowski. “I hope that the project will help incorporate aspects that create a stronger sense of place and togetherness––something the community could really benefit from.”
Elaborating on what such art might exhibit, Kotlowski said it could be anything from farm equipment to kayakers, as well as words like “grow” and thrive.”
“It gives a little more meaning than just ‘oh look, that's pretty,’ said Kotlowski. It reflects our community's aspirations, i.e. to grow, to thrive, to be vibrant.”
The city council naturally expressed concerns regarding potential smells and any unsightly marks or residues that may persist following its application. Kotlowski said her research indicated none of this would be a problem. A little lime juice, water, soap and scrubbing would remove the decor with relative ease.
Councilman Gallow also said he didn’t want the project to promote graffiti, which the city has had issue with on some of its surfaces, for instance the “Welcome to Granite Falls,” sign. Others representatives, like councilman Scott Peterson, however, felt such worry was unwarranted. “If people are going to be jerks, they’re going to be jerks,” he said.
Kotlowski plans to hold a public gathering to receive input on possible design ideas, and is planning a small scale, pre-trial test sometime in the next few days.
“Art has the capability to help our community bring us the things we so desire: tourism, economic growth, pride, togetherness, a sense of place, etc. We just need to effectively utilize it in a way everyone can enjoy,” she said.
“It sounds interesting,” commented Mayor Dave Smiglewksi. “I’m curious to say the least.”
In other news:
•At the recommendation of EDA?Director Dennis Van Hoof, the city council approved a 120 month $40,000 loan at three percent interest to Korthuis Jewelry that, according to city documents, will be used to pay down credit card debt that is accruing at high interest rates.
Page 2 of 2 - Steve Nordaune was the lone no vote, stating that he would’ve liked have seen the EDA?take a different course of action to aid the business.
The document says the business remains profitable and includes a list of seven conditions that had to be agreed upon before the loan would be issued. Conditions dictated how the loan monies would be used and also included stipulations to protect the city’s interest.
•Council approved a resolution authorizing the submittal of a grant application to the State Office of Transit that applies to the bus service.
The grant is a match between the city (20 percent) and state (80 percent). In 2012, the transit budget was 121,650, the anticipated amount for 2013, with two percent interest, is $124,083.