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Published: Friday, 5/12/2006

Bridge monument finalists narrowed to 3

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Three artists' proposals for a tribute monument near the Veterans' Glass City Skyway project all include elements recognizing the four men who died there in a crane accident nearly 27 months ago, and each attempts to harmonize with the soaring structure that will soon carry I-280 traffic over the Maumee River.

The challenge will be picking a winner.

About 100 people attended a meeting last night that introduced the artists and their proposals to Toledoans.

"I'm impressed by all of the presentations here, by all three of them," said Howard Pinkley, a Point Place resident, capturing the sentiment of many who spoke. "I would be pleased to honor these gentlemen [the artists] by putting all three of these up somewhere around the bridge."

"They all had feeling. It would be nice to have all three of them," Joe Blaze, business manager for Ironworkers Local 55, said afterward.

Evan Lewis of Chicago shows his proposed sculpture: four pillars shaped to mimic the piers
of the I-280 span, topped by stainless steel elements that would respond to the wind.
Evan Lewis of Chicago shows his proposed sculpture: four pillars shaped to mimic the piers of the I-280 span, topped by stainless steel elements that would respond to the wind.
Enlarge

Four members of Mr. Blaze's union - ironworkers Mike Phillips, 42, Arden Clark II, 47, Robert Lipinski, Jr., 44, and Mike Moreau, 30 - were killed in the Feb. 16, 2004, collapse of a gantry truss crane at the bridge construction site.

Four other construction workers were injured in the accident.

Evan Lewis, of Chicago, John Young, of Seattle, and Cork Marcheschi, of San Francisco, were chosen as finalists from the 68 respondents to a call for artists to design the monument.

They presented widely divergent concepts to honor the fallen men and hundreds of other construction workers who have continued to build the $220 million bridge in their absence.

Mr. Marcheschi proposed a 20-foot tall ring of stainless steel with 20 inlaid lights and a dangling plumb bob - to signify accuracy within simplicity - and would be bounded by four internally lit hard hats to represent the four who died.

When viewed from a certain angle, the ring would frame the bridge's 400-foot central pylon, which would be inlaid with lights and radiating the bridge's stay cables sheathed in stainless steel.

John Young designed the sculpture to honor four ironworkers killed during the project. John Young designed the sculpture to honor four ironworkers killed during the project.
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Mr. Young suggested a series of four I-beams suspended by cables from eight concrete supports, which in turn would be anchored by hundreds of smaller cables.

The beams would represent the dead, the supports the dead plus the injured workers, and the anchor cables the hundreds of other workers on the project and their families, Mr. Young said. The structure would be about 21 feet high and create a 30-foot colonnade.

Mr. Lewis' idea was a stainless steel sculpture mounted atop four concrete pillars similar in appearance to the bridge's piers, with wind-blown "kinetic elements" that would spin in even a light breeze.

The four pillars would symbolize the four men who died, with the sculpture merging the four legs into one up to a point 28 feet high, the kinetic elements' hub level.

The sculpture's spinning arms would reach out up to 12 feet higher.

Elon Bugyi, of West Toledo, told the group that she prefers Mr. Marcheschi's concept because of its simplicity and the way the ring would be made of many pieces of stainless steel, just as the bridge is made of many parts.

Members of the Tribute Committee will meet on Monday to make a recommendation to the bridge project's public task force.

It will have to rely on written comments submitted during the meeting last night - or their own impressions.

"It's going to be a very difficult decision," said Cathy Mott, the task force's public-participation chairman.

"We have three proposals that each use elements of the bridge, and help us celebrate the people who have worked on it and those who were lost," agreed Mark Folk, executive director of the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo and a Tribute Committee member.

Contact David Patch at:

dpatch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6094.



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