Wilmington statue will be tribute to local agricultural legacy


By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



Wilmington City Council members, along with other officials and locals discuss city issues during Thursday’s meeting held virtually.

Wilmington City Council members, along with other officials and locals discuss city issues during Thursday’s meeting held virtually.


John Hamilton | News Journal

WILMINGTON — A statue celebrating the county’s agricultural background and welcoming residents is in the works.

During Thursday night’s Wilmington City Council meeting, members approved a memorandum of understanding outlining a statue planned for Point Park.

Jan Blohm, executive director of the Clinton County Foundation, told council about the project and the history of it.

The statue is to be built at Point Park, which is the green space located at the confluence of East Main and East Locust Streets. This has been the “special urban beautification project of the garden club,” according to Blohm.

“They have lovingly tended the perennial gardens that are the gateway to Wilmington’s business district as well as the entrance of Wilmington College,” said Blohm. “These are key entry points for our community.”

Blohm told the council that since these places were seen by Bruce and Dorothy Henry (donors to the project) as the “front door” and where Wilmington “set the stage for our small-town welcome,” it should be “meaningful and beautiful” to visitors.

This summer, a gazebo at the park was torn down due to a deteriorating foundation. The Wilmington Garden Club was considering what should be put in its place, according to Blohm. To them, this project should symbolize the community and be striking to its visitors.

Bruce Henry wanted to think of a way to honor his parents — the late Robert and Phoebe Henry.

“It seems that the stars do align when good people want to make a great thing,” said Blohm.

The thing that had caught Bruce and Dorothy’s attention was a sculpture suggested by the Garden Club and Wilmington Parks and Recreation which pay tribute to Clinton County’s agricultural industry.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding presented to the council, the project includes: “five cornstalk sculptures, a relief sculpture with two figures and farm animals, a brick masonry bed to elevate the cornstalks and a stone pedestal with an informational plaque from the family. The sculpture will have landscape lighting to highlight the piece at night.”

The statue is being sculpted by Isaac Dell, manager of the Sugartree Mill Co., which is owned by his parents Diane and Randy.

In a timeline in the Memorandum of Understanding presented to the council, the project commenced on Nov. 10 with a four-month duration for sculpting. The clay model of the statue is scheduled to be presented on March 1. The clay sculptures are scheduled to be sent to Michigan Art Castings in Leslie, Michigan on March 15 to start the mold-making and casting process.

Site excavation and masonry work is scheduled to begin on May 1, with parts being installed starting May 20.

The memorandum indicates the project will cost an estimated $67,396 and will be paid by the donors the Henry Family and the Clinton County Foundation.

By agreeing to the memorandum, the city and the Parks and Recreation Department agreed to handle the future maintenance of the statue.

Council member Kelsey Swindler abstained from the vote due to being a member of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

Wilmington City Council members, along with other officials and locals discuss city issues during Thursday’s meeting held virtually.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/12/web1_Screenshot-90-.jpgWilmington City Council members, along with other officials and locals discuss city issues during Thursday’s meeting held virtually. John Hamilton | News Journal

By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.