City Council hears of proposal for extravagant artwork addition in city

If it comes to fruition, a hand-painted mural of the former Mendota Union Depot would be constructed on the south side of the Triple Service building at the corner of Illinois Avenue and Monroe Street. (Reporter photo)

By KIP CHEEK

Staff writer

MENDOTA – The Mendota City Council heard about a proposed project to add more artwork to the city and accepted a bid for the summer street maintenance program at its July 19 regular meeting.

Chris Coughlin of North Central Illinois ARTworks in Peru and Michelle Wade of Triple Service Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric in Mendota spoke to the council about the possibility of bringing a historic mural to downtown Mendota. Wade and her husband, Gabe, plan to partner with NCI ARTworks to provide a new public art piece of the former Union Depot to emphasize the city’s railroad history and a piece that will welcome visitors and residents alike to view the mural. The proposed mural would be placed on the south side of the Triple Service building located at the corner of Monroe Street and Illinois Avenue.

The artwork would consist of hand-painted aluminum panels similar to the construction of the “Mendota Gold” piece on the silo at Northern Partners. The mural would be 127 feet wide and 50 feet tall, and would recreate a historically accurate version of the Mendota Union Depot built in 1888.

“This would be a great place to put a piece of art and a grand piece of history that was part of the city of Mendota,” said Wade. “This is what we were founded on. It would be a majestic piece of art in the middle of our town.”

Coughlin said NCI ARTworks develops public art to market the smaller communities in the three counties it represents (LaSalle, Bureau, Putnam). She said the mural would be a part of the Silo Pathways Countryside Public Art Tour, which is a tourism attraction being developed in the three counties.

“We are committed to try to make this a reality,” said Coughlin.

A public announcement and launch party will be held on Monday, Aug. 2 from 4-6 p.m. at the Breaking the Prairie Museum. Also at that time, a new informational sign will be unveiled for “Mendota Gold.”

CAMERA UPDATE

Police Chief Greg Kellen informed the council that five more cameras have been installed in the downtown area, bringing the number of cameras in the city to 18.

ALDERMANIC REPORTS

Alderman Jay Miller presented a license addition request for a liquor license for Fridas at 714 Illinois Ave. The request was approved.

Alderman Jim Fitzpatrick announced that three bids were submitted for the 2021 motor fuel tax street maintenance program, which involves the asphalt surfacing of streets. The council accepted the low bid of $229,074.16 from Rock Road Companies of Rockford. The bid was 14.61 percent under the city engineer’s estimate.

Alderman John Hessenberger informed the council of a zoning variance request from Scott Johnson at 104 First Ave. The council agreed to the request.

The next regular meeting of the Mendota City Council will be Monday, Aug. 2 at 5:30 p.m.

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