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COUNCIL CHRONICLES: Unredeemed
JACKSON HOLE, WYO –
If you wanted to sponsor an event in Jackson and you were thinking it might call for a street closure or it could block a street or obstruct traffic flow in any way, well, you’re going to have Bob Lenz to answer to. If the ghost of Bin Laden applied for an expo permit to use the Town Square in order to behead the entire Sweet Peas student body, Lenz’s first question would be something like, “Couldn’t your al-Qaeda people park their camels diagonally and at least leave one lane of Cache open for through-traffic?”
Steve Michel approached the dais and clued the council in on his plan to move the Jackson Hole People’s Market from the Redeemer Lutheran Church at the corner of Gill and Willow to Phil Baux Park at the base of Snow King.
First question right out of the box, “Are you going to block off the north side of Phil Baux there?” Lenz asked Michel.
“Just the parking lot,” the People’s marketing manager said.
Jim Stanford asked why the market was trying to move. Michel explained that even though mini-concerts to coincide with the market’s Wednesday night run never materialized, they may in the future; and, anyways, Phil Baux was a more vibrant space than the Lutheran Church.
It was soon the grass that became the issue. Parks & Rec head Steve Ashworth didn’t whole-heartedly sign off on the market, fearing turf damage but Michel assured the councilors he met with Al Zuckerman of Parks & Rec and they walked the space and came to an accord of some kind.
“Every week we could move the booths a few feet so they are not always on the same grass and we would use mats from High Country Linen,” Michel smiled at the owner of High Country Linen.
The owner of the dry cleaner may have been appeased but the mayor shot back, “Are you a Wyoming corporation?”
Michel said the entity behind the People’s Market was Slow Foods of the Tetons which was technically based in Driggs but really they were a Teton County (both) corporation and currently in the middle of paperwork that would make them legit in the Cowboy State.
Stanford chimed in that he didn’t have a problem with where Slow Foods picked up their mail.
“I’m a fan of the People’s Market at the old spot. It was bringing people to a place that was underutilized and didn’t seem to be in anyone’s way,” Stanford said. “I would be willing to give it a try, maybe in the parking lot [of Phil Baux Park]. Perhaps with a little adjustment we could find something that works for everybody.”
Mayor Mark Barron pointed out Parks & Rec’s concern about the grass.
“That’s the most popular park we have in the system. I agree with Parks & Rec – they’re the pros – that the turf is going to get run down,” Barron said. “But more important than that, I don’t think I should have to obligate any Jackson residents to lose any part of that park. It gets hundreds of people every day. The park is there for the people, not for regular eventing.”
Michel insisted his weekly three-hour event would not be in anyone’s way and would only add to the vibe at the Rock Baux.
Barron offered Michel a chance to rethink the layout before the Council voted him back to the Lutherans. He strongly suggested he figure out a way to set up the vendor booths somewhere off the turf. The decision was tabled until next meeting.
Jackson Hole Public Art director Carrie Geraci took her turn at the podium to pitch a 54’ long-by-29’ wide-by-28’ high sculpture called “Cloud City.” The internationally-known piece by Tomas Saraceno spent last summer on the roof of the Met. Geraci wanted to plop it onto Center for the Arts’ lawn from August 23 to November 8.
“I see here you need to close Cache Street to bring it in and take it away,” Lenz said. “How big is this thing?”
Town clerk Olivia Goodale said the street would be closed for two full days setting it up and two full days tearing it down. A crane would be needed to lower it into place.
Stanford wanted to know if the artwork would be lit up in anyway. It wouldn’t. There was also a conversation about how big the banners would be that advertised it being in Jackson. Geraci said not as big as originally planned when they were thinking about lowering “Cloud City” onto the top of the parking garage. Then the discussion again turned to the poor grass.
Stanford asked, “Tell me more about these concrete pads that will support the sculpture; will the turf be impacted?”
“They are not insignificant,” Geraci admitted. She explained that three pads would probably do it. They would be sunk underneath the grass and remain there for potential use on future art installations. She said the National Museum of Wildlife Art and the Art Association had expressed a desire to maybe drop some art on that lawn too. “This particular sculpture could attract 1,000 to 10,000 destination tourists who will come here just to see it,” Geraci added.
She promised the council more details as soon as the sculpture was up and showing in Colorado this month. Goodale said time was a factor because nationwide fundraising needed to begin immediately. “We need to enter into an initial contract with the owner of sculpture by the end of June and fundraising has to begin no later than six months prior to installation,” Geraci said.
“Are we talking about 2014?” Lenz asked.
“Yes,” Geraci said.
“Our documentation says 2013,” Barron exclaimed.
With a May docket busting at the seams, it took the council about two seconds to table “Cloud City” to a later date.
Beer bucks benediction at rodeo
Under pressure from town officials, rodeo concessionaire Phil Wilson exorcised “Jesus” from WW Productions’ pre-game revival at the rodeo grounds last summer. That may have suited Barron but it still wouldn’t fly with the Wyoming chapter of the ACLU, who are out to protect everyone’s rights by making sure no one has any.
Dumping Christ was a good start, according to ACLU attorney Jennifer Horvath, but how about ditching reference to Daddy, too? Barron said he received a letter from Horvath that strongly suggested ACLU would rain down lawyers on the Town of Jackson if an “amen” so much as slipped out of a roping steer’s ass at the fairgrounds.
Wilson might have bristled a year or two ago but he’s entering into the last season of his contract and probably doesn’t want to rock the boat. Prayer was banned from the rodeo but beer, by God, will flow. The Wilson’s received malt beverage permits for 35 nightly performances this summer, providing revenue totaling $3,500 to the town coffers.