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August 2020
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Peace out Peace Park? Not quite. City adding curb appeal to the downtown park

peace park flattened

Angela Reinhardt / Photo

Artist Eino’s marble sculpture - including the large rock with the hole in the center - is no more. The city has cleared the area in an effort to beautify Main Street.

 

Motorists driving by Peace Park in Jasper this week have likely noticed extensive demolition work at the site, which many residents have complained is an “eyesore.” The park featured a large marble rock sculpture and was outfitted as a water fountain with a small pool at the far north corner. The park/art project was initially designed and installed by renowned marble sculptor Eino but has been modified by city crews as the artist departed before it was ever completed. At some point after the original sculpture was installed, the city added a faux well and other features for decoration. 

But “Peace Park,” located at the corner of Mark Whitfield and North Main streets, has more or less been defunct for over a year and in a growing state of disrepair. At a city council meeting last November the park was discussed, then followed by minor work at the site. 

Prior to city crews’ work on the area late last year, a tour of the park found plants that were either overgrown or dead, waterlines that were exposed and susceptible to freezing, picnic tables that were broken and dangerous, and the pool area was what many called an unattractive “toilet bowl” blue. 

This week, much more significant work is underway. The city has removed or busted up all or the marble pieces, and has cleared trees, old waterlines, and gravel and debris. Jasper City Manager Brandon Douglas said at this point they don’t know what the end product will look like, but they are moving ahead with “phased work” to beautify Jasper’s central business district.  

“In an effort to continue enhancing the downtown area, city leaders have moved forward with the phased work at Peace Park in downtown Jasper,” Douglas said in a prepared statement. “City crews began the work of removing elements of the pocket park such as the pea gravel and large rocks in order to determine the subsurface material. The phased approach of working in this area is to ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of the downtown area and to present a favorable curb appeal that is pleasing to our community and our visitors. It is anticipated that upon determination of the surface beneath the rocks, there may be the need to fill in certain areas (if not all) with dirt and sod so that the gateway into downtown will continue to be inviting and will lead to a continued vibrant and thriving area to visit.”