Greenfield’s downtown will soon be adorned with not just new seating, but multi-functional seating, and something that will not only provide visual interest, but historical interest, too.
They are statues that double as bike racks, and each with their own bench bearing the information of the featured historical figure.
The plan is for six total, council chair Phil Clyburn said, with two to be placed this spring, two next year, and two the year after that. The whole thing that started years ago with the help of the late Betty Jackman, former Greenfield council member and mayor, according to Clyburn.
While the whole idea for multi-functional statues began years ago, it is in recent months that the ball has really started rolling.
Nancy Crawford, owner of The Art Rookery, was approached initially about designing the statues. Not only has she designed them, but she has been overseeing a lot of the project’s process, too.
When Clyburn and Crawford travelled to the Pickaway Ross Career Center to ask them about making the metal statues, they found that they had already created one of Johnny Paycheck, who is one of the chosen figures to be featured.
“We were just blown away by what they did, taking the time to do this,” Clyburn said.
The students’ instructor, Tommy Collier, said they always have a lot of projects lined up, but they heard about this one and got to it.
On Wednesday, those Pickaway Ross students were recognized by the village of Greenfield and treated to pizza for lunch, too. The recognition is something Collier made special note of — this “thank you” to the students. It’s something he said means a lot to them.
Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin thanked all of the students for their part in Greenfield’s efforts to celebrate the village’s history. Catch 22 helped feed the students by providing the pizzas.
An Artie Grant is funding this year’s statues. More grants are being pursued to fund the remaining statues.
The Greenfield Historical Society has helped determine what historical figures would be honored in statuary. They include Paycheck, Drusilla Blackburn, James “Jimmy” Hull, and the Rev. George C. Braxton. Crawford said one of the pieces will be a memorial to Greenfield soldiers lost at Pearl Harbor. The sixth piece has yet to be decided, she said.
The metal statues will double as bike racks and with each will be a granite bench by Hardy Memorials. In each bench will be embedded a QR code which will enable the information on the featured historical figure to either be read or listened to.
Crawford, who just moved to Greenfield a few years ago, said she has found the village to be “very,very welcoming” to her and she is “so grateful to be a part of this.”
With the help of local businesses, student metal workers at Pickaway Ross, Crawford, the village, the Greenfield Historical Society, and John King, who has contributed to writing some of the historical information for this year’s installments, the project is all coming together.
“It’s been a community thing, a collaborative effort,” Clyburn said. “This town has a lot more to it than what some think and we want to showcase the proud history of Greenfield.”
To follow what’s happening in and around the village, you can access the community calendar by a QR code on the village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page, or at www.greenfieldohio.net.
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.