Public art proposal good for Niles

Published 9:51 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

Every once in a while someone comes up with an idea that makes perfect sense.

That happened earlier this week when Niles residents Jeanne Watson and Fredda Zeiter proposed an ambitious plan to place approximately $1 million worth of art in public spaces in Niles.

It would include commissioning — through donor money — a number of high quality and historically significant sculptures that would be placed outside the Niles District Library and within Niles Riverfront Park.

Several things must happen before this can become a reality, but the first — and most important thing — is that the city council must approve the creation of a Niles Public Art Commission to oversee the pursuit of the proposed plan.

We hope council members will see the benefit of Watson and Zeiter’s proposal and vote “yes” for creating the art commission.

It is no secret that downtown Niles could use a jolt of economic activity.

Placing 10 sculptures — each pertaining to a specific aspect of Niles’ history — in Riverfront Park would likely attract tourists who would naturally spend their dollars in the nearby downtown restaurants and shops.

The sculptures would also keep alive Niles’ rich history and complement future developments with the Fort St. Joseph archaeological site located in the south part of the park.

Travel agencies, Watson said, are always looking for interesting places for day trips. If Niles can catch their attention, tour buses full of people could soon be showing up to inject dollars into the downtown.

And since Niles wouldn’t be spending public dollars to bring in these sculptures, the proposal comes with little or no risk.

Supporting such a move seems like common sense.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.