A modern, stainless steel interpretation of train wheels in motion will bridge the Union Pacific Depot's historic past to its visitor center's future, Lawrence city commissioners decided Tuesday.
In a unanimous vote, commissioners decided to spend $30,000 to commission local artist Shellie Bender's "Mobility" sculpture for the depot's planned outdoor garden area at 402 N. Second.
"It will be a joy for all of us for years to come," said Carol Jones, chair of the Lawrence Arts Commission.
But Jim Brothers, a professional sculptor and North Lawrence resident, told commissioners that he wanted a piece of public art he could be proud of. Bender's piece is too industrial, he said.
"We are not New Yorkers," Brothers said. "We are not Easterners. We do not need their culture."
The project will be financed through the city's "Percent for Art" program, which sets aside tax money borrowed for major construction projects.
Bender's project is expected to be in place in six months.
Consultants already helping Kansas University with its parking and transportation concerns will soon add public transportation to its work list.
Tuesday night, Lawrence city commissioners unanimously endorsed the selection of Chance Management Advisors Inc., of Philadelphia, to come up with alternatives for public transportation in Lawrence.
The firm, working with Abrams-Cherwony & Associates, also of Philadelphia, will be paid $84,000 to work with officials from the city, KU and Lawrence school district to figure out how a coordinated transit system could work, and how much it might cost.
Fred Sherman, the city's transportation planner, said the consultants wouldn't decide which alternative to choose. Instead, they will "facilitate" difficult discussions and lend valuable expertise to an issue that has yet to yield a consensus in town.
"We don't need another plan," Sherman said. "We need a process."
The completed report is expected in time for the city's April 1 elections.