By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
After completion of Yukon’s first “Creative Crosswalk,” Yukon’s Best Main Street has a vision of a network of artistic crosswalks connecting businesses to adjacent neighborhoods and off-street parking.
A new colorful crosswalk on S 5th Street near Yukon City Hall begins a comprehensive effort designed to highlight cultural heritage while promoting downtown walkability.
These are among key strategies in revitalizing Main Street.
“We have a network and we’ll be presenting it to the city council in the near future to get their ‘pre-approval’ for these locations,” Yukon Main Street Director Vicki Davis said.
“On our side, we still have to come up with the money.”
Fund-raising efforts already are underway for future crosswalks in Yukon’s historic Route 66 business district. Each crosswalk costs about $5,000, covering the artwork and installation.
Funds are raised through private donations and grants to finance the design and high-quality artwork.
Creative crosswalks are a growing trend throughout downtown districts where public art meets safety enhancement, Davis noted.
ONE DOWN …
Professional artist Carlos Barboza recently put the finishing touches on Yukon’s first Creative Crosswalk – a 36-foot by 8-foot, eight-panel crossing on S 5th between Main Street and Elm.
This Creative Crosswalk – completed Jan. 5 – links the public parking lot behind city hall to downtown businesses.
Crosswalk panels 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.
“We could never have envisioned the quality of artwork Carlos was able to produce,” Davis said. “We were really proud to work with a Yukon artist who is very well known around the state.
“Yukon has tremendous, rich culture in so many areas. To be able to have eight cultural markers featured in such a beautiful way was just tremendous. It really set the tone for the quality of public artwork that we would like to promote in the future.”
A ribbon cutting is planned with representatives of the eight cultural markers.
Future crosswalks may have varying themes.
“If a corporation, business, organization, local church, or school wanted to sponsor one of these, we would work with them on a design that would be meaningful to them but still within the theme of the cultural crosswalks,” Davis explained.
Publicity about Yukon’s first unique Creative Crosswalk has drawn notice from community leaders in other cities and states interested in having such a project.
HOW TO HELP
The Creative Crosswalk effort is headed by Yukon Main Street Board Member Stephanie Hale, chair the Design Point Committee.
“We have worked hard to provide a great example that people have loved,” Davis said. “We will have more and more opportunities that people can contribute to.
“We developed a beautification fund, and this is the first project that any donations contribute to.”
Barboza looks forward to creating more masterpieces in Yukon.
While professional artists will install each Creative Crosswalk, student art classes are expected to help with ongoing maintenance.
“We’ll refresh it instead of letting it wear down,” Davis said.
“We have identified a couple alley crossings that, in the future, might be able to be community projects where people can come participate in the painting.”
Tax-deductible donations to support the Creative Crosswalk effort may be made through the Yukon’s Best Main Street Beautification Fund. T-shirt sale proceeds also help.
For more information, call the Yukon Main Street office at (405) 350-5999 or visit Yukon 66 Main Street Facebook page.