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Thursday, September 27, 2012 8:02 PM

Design winner named for downtown mural at Haley Park

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer

The public has painted a clear picture of which mural design would look best in Ottawa’s historic downtown.

And Ottawa artist Scott Braden was the winner.

“I don’t have the exact totals, but Scott had about twice as many votes as the next person,” Becci Shisler, Ottawa Main Street Association program director, said. “The public had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to submit their votes, and then the [Main Street] board approved Scott’s mural Tuesday night.”

The association’s mural committee will commission Braden to paint a giant mural on the wall of the 205 S. Main St. building that defines the southern border of Edward E. Haley Community Park, Second and Main streets, in Ottawa’s historic downtown.

Shisler said the next step will be to raise about $15,000 to cover the cost of the project.

“We haven’t sent out letters yet or really started the fundraising campaign, but we already have $1,500 pledged toward the mural so far,” Shisler said Thursday.

Braden could not be reached Thursday, but Shisler said he would like to get started in the near future.

“Scott was really excited about winning, and he is itching to get started,” Shisler said. “He said he would be willing to start with just a few hundred dollars for supplies, even though we don’t have the full amount raised yet.

“We still have to get the contract drawn up, but I expect he will get started soon,” Shisler said.

Louis Reed, local historian and mural committee member, said in an email he was pleased to see the project moving forward.

“With the selection of an artist, we can begin the fundraising for this project,” Reed said. “Scott did a good job of portraying the historic photographs that were requested to be part of this project. With Scott’s talent as an artist, and with the help of the community, I look forward to soon having a mural on the Haley Park wall.”

In keeping with the historic theme, the mural was to include five iconic Ottawa elements: a Bennett ice wagon, the Forest Park front entrance, the old fire station, a vintage piece of Warner Manufacturing Co. machinery and the Zellner building, which once stood on the site of Haley Park.

The three mural finalists were Braden, Matt Gifford and Nell Stockdall — all of whom have ties to the Ottawa community. Mural committee members complemented all three artists on their designs.

“I would also like to express my thanks to the artists who submitted proposals,” Reed said. “All of the artists were talented, and each proposal had its advocates. I could see this turning into the first of many murals in the community and would hope that those artists would consider vying for future projects.”

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