BI council to see presentation on Superfund site

The Bainbridge Island City Council is still trying to take the high road regarding public art on the roundabouts being built on Highway 305.

But city manager Blair King and Councilmembers Clarence Moriwaki and Ashley Mathews said at the March 26 council meeting that it may be too late to do everything they might like.

“That ship has sailed,” Mathews said.

King said in opening remarks on the issue that the roundabouts at Adas Will and West Port Madison are too far along to do anything regarding public art. However, “now is the perfect time” if we’re interested in doing it at the Day Road roundabout.

“Day Road is still a ways out there,” Moriwaki said. “The others are too late to make a reasonable effort.”

There also was conflict about who should ultimately decide what art would be included.

Mathews and Moriwaki said the city’s Public Art Committee should do it.

“It exists for this” type of decision, Moriwaki said of the committee. “The meetings are open to the public, so anybody can join in.”

King favored a community group, adding it worked well in picking art for the Ted Spearman Justice Center.

Mayor Joe Deets said the council, with input from the Suquamish tribe, should make the decision. Deets said something about the tribe’s heritage should be the art at the site.

Moriwaki objected to that. “I appreciate his passion,” the councilmember said of the mayor. “But you don’t get to decide. The community needs to weigh in on that. They may have a different idea.” He added there are other values that some may want to include in the roundabout art.

Despite the late date, some councilmembers said the city should still try to get art placed at the more northern roundabouts.

Councilmember Leslie Schneider said there needs to be welcoming art as people drive south onto BI. Just because of the timing she doesn’t “want to squash the possibility and not doing anything.”

“It’s weird to have art on Day Road, but not the others,” Councilmember Kirsten Hytopoulos said, adding some small decorative features could be placed on the surface later to carry through a theme.

King said he didn’t know if that would be allowed by the state Department of Transportation. WSDOT suggests “stamped concrete” on retaining walls as the art option.

Councilmember Brenda Fantroy-Johnson said the retaining wall around a tree that is being saved could be a good spot for that.

In conclusion, the council decided to ask King to check with WSDOT to see what all could be done at this late notice, if anything, on the northernmost roundabouts.

King opened the discussion saying the cost of the three public art pieces at the Johnson Parkway roundabout near Poulsbo cost $275,000. BI has already spent $150,000 for public art at the Justice Center, so there is $136,000 left in the Public Art Subfund. Three options are being considered for the process: an ad hoc committee, the Public Art Committee or a community panel.