NEWS-LEDGER — NOV 23, 2011 –
By Steve Marschke
Right on time at 10 o’clock on Friday morning, a crane dropped a shiny new piece of public artwork onto a concrete base at the Rotary Centennial Park. It was planned by Rotary members to be an asset to the neighborhood near Jefferson and Michigan boulevards and the Safeway center – and in part, to make Kathleen O’Leary happy.
Dan Ramos, president of the West Sacramento Rotary Club (one of the city’s two Rotary chapters – his holds afternoon meetings), explained.
The land was a remnant from when Jefferson Boulevard was a highway that belonged to CalTrans. The city got the property after West Sacramento formed and turned it into a city street.
“It just kind of sat there, unimproved and ugly,” said Ramos. “Kathleen O’Leary (at the time, a city redevelopment agency official and Rotary member) talked to the city about improving it. Don Schatzel (retired city parks director and Rotarian) was present, back then, too. She and Don started the project, and got a grant of some sort.”
The Rotary “adopted” the scrappy little park in 1993, said club member Debbie Reynolds. The club took over maintenance and improvements at the little park across from the shopping center – which now features neatly manicured shrubs and walkways.
“The artwork was always part of the original design, we just couldn’t afford to get it going,” said Ramos. “We really wanted to do it to honor Kathleen, too – we wanted to make sure it got up for her.”
Then Clarksburg artist Roger Berry came into the picture (you can see some of his work at http://rogerberry.info/index.html — recent installations a soaring display at a UC Davis Health Sciences building).
Berry, a Rotarian himself, offered to donate his design and labor for the West Sacramento sculpture. The two local Rotary chapters provided $3,500 for materials, and built the concrete base.
The finished sculpture (eight-feet tall) now stands on a three-foot pedestal, showing a different shape to a viewer as the angle of view changes.
Judging from Kathleen O’Leary’s smile — she was on hand for the installation — the piece was a success.
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