Gateway: News

City of Gig Harbor asks for input about placement of art in city parks

The totem pole was removed from its Gig Harbor location of more than 30 years. The 28-foot-tall totem pole, carved by Dave Davies from Western red cedar, was donated by the Ulsh family to the city for refurbishment and relocation.
The totem pole was removed from its Gig Harbor location of more than 30 years. The 28-foot-tall totem pole, carved by Dave Davies from Western red cedar, was donated by the Ulsh family to the city for refurbishment and relocation. Courtesy

The City of Gig Harbor is asking residents for input about the placement of future art pieces in city park locations.

Those interesting in providing feedback are welcome to attend an open house sponsored by the Parks Commission at 4 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Gig Harbor Civic Center.

Information and images of four art pieces will be provided to attendees. The pieces under consideration for placement are a totem pole donated by a longtime Gig Harbor resident, a steam engine that was at Point Defiance Park and two sculptures from the Gig Harbor Midday Rotary group.

The Gig Harbor City Council asked both the Parks and the Art Commission to review the pieces and the locations for the best possible fit, City Administrator Ron Williams said.

“We have plenty of nice pieces,” he said.

According to Howard Svigals, president of Midday Rotary, the sculptures are a Peace Pole and a statue called the Wish Fish.

The idea for the Peace Pole came from a Rotary member who realized that no other Rotary clubs in the area had one.

The pole measures about 6 feet in height and features inscriptions for peace in several languages running along the length up each side of the pole. With funds already allocated for its purchase, Svigals said the group is just waiting on placement decisions.

“We would like to get it in a place where it would get some traffic,” he said, but acknowledged that the city remains the “experts” when deciding on final placement.

The Wish Fish is much more complicated, Svigals said.

The idea of the Wish Fish has been in planning for several years. The statue design includes a “coin slot” feature for donations to a local charity. But this feature could provide maintenance difficulties for the city and is still under discussion for the best course of management and city placement, Svigals said.

The totem pole was recently featured in a story in The Peninsula Gateway about its removal from its Gig Harbor location of more than 30 years. The 28-foot-tall totem pole, carved by Dave Davies from Western red cedar, was donated by the Ulsh family to the city for refurbishment and relocation.

The totem pole is currently being stored by the city’s public works department, Williams said.

Williams said that the steam engine was originally featured in Donkey Creek Park and is returning to the Harbor after several years at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma.

The Parks Commission has several ideas for the placement of the pieces, but is interested in community input before presenting the information to the City Council, which will make the final decision.

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