By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Work has gotten underway on Yukon’s first “Creative Crosswalk.”
An effort of Yukon’s Best Main Street, the project is designed to help beautify downtown while promoting cultural heritage and the connectivity of Yukon’s historic downtown.
The 36-foot by 8-foot Creative Crosswalk is being installed on S 5th Street between Main Street and Elm.
This unique crosswalk “will be an accessible linkage between the public parking lot behind Yukon City Hall for people to cross over and get to our downtown businesses,” Yukon Main Street Director Vicki Davis said.
“This is the first in what we hope becomes a network of creative crosswalks.”
The 5th Street Creative Crosswalk’s design, approved by Yukon’s Main Street board, was created by Yukon artist Carlos Barboza and celebrates Yukon’s cultural heritage.
Crosswalk panels will feature Route 66, the Yukon Millers, Garth Brooks, Yukon’s Queen of the West Flour, Dale Robertson, Czech heritage, Mabel C. Fry, and the Chisholm Trail. There will be an eight-inch reflective white striping on both sides.
Contractors started work Nov. 19 on curb cuts for the crosswalk. After the concrete cures, installation of the artwork should start the Monday after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. That is expected to take about a week, more if weather becomes a factor.
Yukon Main Street’s Design Point committee, chaired by Stephanie Hale, is spearheading the effort. The committee will work with city officials and the traffic commission on the crosswalk network plan, to place future crosswalks in strategic locations.
“We are so appreciative of the city council and city departments’ guidance and support of this project,” Davis said. “We are proud to showcase Yukon Main Street and our downtown district as a trend-setter for creative crosswalks.”
‘FUNCTIONAL PUBLIC ART’
The Creative Crosswalk project is part of ongoing efforts to revitalize and enhance Yukon’s historic Main Street district.
The 5th Street crosswalk begins a comprehensive effort to improve the walkability of Yukon’s downtown, connecting businesses to surrounding neighborhoods and off-street parking areas.
“And it does so in a very creative manner that contributes to our growing public collections,” Davis noted.
Yukon’s Main Street director described this as “functional public art.”
With parking issues in the 400 and 500 blocks of W Main, Main Street board members have sought creative ways to connect with the free parking behind city offices to allow people to cross S 5th Street and walk down the street to shop.
Creative crosswalks are a growing trend throughout downtown districts where public art meets safety enhancement, Davis noted.
Estimated cost of this first crosswalk is at least $4,000.
“This is a public-private partnership with the City of Yukon and our organization,” she said. “The Yukon 66 Main Street Association has created a beautification fund through which donations have been received to cover about half the cost of the 5th Street Creative Crosswalk.”
The association has committed to paying the remaining balance of this first crosswalk, while hoping to inspire the community to get involved.
Tax-deductible donations are welcome. For more information, call the Yukon Main Street office at (405) 350-5999.