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Published: 8/21/2012

Fiber-glass butterflies to glide into village of Whitehouse

BY LIYAN CHEN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Other cities have featured fiber-glass frog legs and fish fins on public display, but the village of Whitehouse is doing a flutterby thing.

Wings Around Whitehouse, a butterfly project to celebrate the summer of 2013, is taking flight as part of the community's downtown beautification initiative.

"We had the idea for a few years, and we debated what kind of animals we wanted. Since we are so close to the Metropark, butterfly seemed to be a great idea," said Barbara Knisely, Whitehouse's community development coordinator.

With a sponsorship fee ranging from $395 to $520, businesses, families, and individuals can sponsor a fiber-glass butterfly in downtown Whitehouse. The butterflies will be displayed in a two-mile loop for four months next year.

In March, sponsors will receive fiber-glass butterflies that they can decorate according to their wish.

"For sponsors who choose not to decorate their butterflies, we also have an art advisory board that will match sponsors with artists," Ms. Knisely said. A call is going out for artists to submit their designs.

The application deadline for both sponsors and artists will be Dec. 15.

Butterflies will be installed the last week of May, and an unveiling party is scheduled for early June.

"It will be great. Everyone has their individual taste and color. We also get to name our butterfly," said Kay Maguire, owner of the Corner Shoppe Consignment Antiques in downtown Whitehouse.

Ms. Maguire was the first business owner who confirmed her sponsorship for the project.

"We have gotten eight businesses who said that they would be interested. We are hoping for 20, and we will definitely make it," Ms. Knisely said.

"The great thing about it is that we will not auction the butterflies."

Other communities have put fiber-glass creatures on exhibit along streets and sidewalks and later auctioned them as part of fund-raising efforts, such as Maumee, where a few years back, fiber-glass fish -- 55-pounders, painted and primed -- were featured. Toledo had its fiber-glass frogs, and in Chicago, it was Cows on Parade.

Ms. Knisely said the village of Whitehouse has received a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Ohio Department of Development for a beautification initiative in the downtown area. The streets were torn up last fall for a major replacement of water and storm sewer lines.

This year, Whitehouse is replacing outdated street lamps, purchasing colorful seasonal banners, and placing additional street furniture along Providence Street.

"I've lived in Whitehouse for almost 40 years. I love Whitehouse. I want to promote Whitehouse as much as I can," Ms. Maguire said. She planned to ask her son to design the butterfly, for which she paid $400.

The cost will go down as more sponsors participate.

Contact Liyan Chen at: lchen@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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