Abilene has become a city of murals, eight and counting.
But where can people see all of them?
Tim Horan, editor of the Reflector-Chronicle, presented a solution to the problem at the Abilene Forward meeting Monday evening.
“I work at the newspaper,” Horan said. “Tourists see the sign that says downtown Abilene. People turn the corner. They see Little Ike Park and the Abilene mural.”
Then they often stop at the newspaper and ask what there is to do downtown, he said.
“Hey, there are other murals out there,” he said.
Horan and his wife, Kathy, have designed a Mural Walking Tour leaflet that lists the murals, with a thumbnail photo of each on the front panel.
On the inside is a map of downtown, showing the location of the murals and many of the businesses, services and restaurants that might be of interest to visitors. That way, people know where to shop, get something to eat, get a haircut, find a pharmacy, he said.
The back panel lists area attractions, such as the museums and Great Plains Theatre.
The leaflets will be available in a weather-proof box near the Abilene mural next to Little Ike Park.
“This is just a start,” Horan said. “We don’t have a lot of money, so we’re not going to spend a lot of money.”
Horan also will have the leaflet available as a PDF that he will can send to businesses to print and make available for their customers.
The project is being funded by the Community Foundation of Dickinson County, said Elizabeth Weese, executive. The budget is $75.
The Community Foundation is also paying for a prototype painted boot sculpture, similar to the Dala horses in Lindsborg. The boot, about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide, will be painted. The basic boot costs about $400 and $300 for an artist to paint it. Additional costs include mounting, perhaps setting it in cement or on wheels.
No decision has been made about where to put the first boot.
“Community Foundation has funded this as public art,” Weese said.
If successful, businesses or individuals can order more boots and have them painted.
The group also discussed other possible signs and murals and how to schedule events so they don’t conflict.
Abilene Forward is a group of business owners and citizens interested in coordinating on downtown projects, said Weese, the facilitator.
There has been some confusion, she said, about the purpose of the group and what other civic and government organizations do.
Abilene Forward is not an event planner but can facilitate such events as Night of Christmas Magic and other projects such as cleaning up the sidewalks and alleys downtown. The purpose of the group is to share ways to get things, not necessarily to do the work, Weese said.
After the meeting, members of the group walked across the street for a tour of the Perring Building which Rob Hammatt is renovating for two apartments upstairs.
On the first floor, the south half will be the Ortus Cafe, owned by Edward Hammatt. The cafe, which will specialize in sweet and savory crepes, is slated to open sometime in the next month, Edward Hammatt said. It will be open for breakfast and lunch, to start.
Rob Hammat said the uses of the north end on the first floor have not been decided yet, possibly retail or office space.
Contact Jean Bowers at email@example.com.