ROCKLAND, Maine — The city is one step closer to owning a new sculpture — a sphere made up of 600 railroad spikes created by Warren artist and Rockland native Jay Sawyer.
Rockland city councilors unanimously voted at the regular meeting Monday night to accept the donation of the 500-pound piece of art, which would be installed at the Union Street railroad station.
“I know that Rockland’s going through a transformation into being recognized as an arts center,” Sawyer, who ran a welding business for 16 years, told the council. “I’m kind of going through that transformation myself.”
There’s only one problem — while the sculpture is already completed, Sawyer has just begun the process of applying for a public art grant from the Maine Arts Commission that would pay for the innovative piece. He said he expects competition for the grants to be tight, but nonetheless he’s hopeful about the future of the spiky sphere.
So is Gordon Page Sr., vice president of Maine Eastern Railroad, which owns the railroad station.
“We think it’s great,” Page said after the council meeting. “We think it’s a great opportunity for Maine Eastern Railroad to participate in the betterment of Rockland.”
Page said that if the grant is approved and the sculpture is installed, it would be placed in a prominent spot in front of the train station.
“It’s unique,” he said of the piece. “I think it really ties in nicely with what the railroad is doing. And it’s really a nice link to the downtown arts effort.”
The enthusiasm for Sawyer’s creation seemed to be echoed by Rockland’s public officials.
“Thank you for thinking of your hometown,” Mayor Deb McNeil told the artist at the meeting.
In other business, councilors unanimously voted:
• To charge Sharp’s Point South LLC $3,000 for the 2009 rent of the Sea Scouts building at Snow Marine Park.
• To waive the fee for the Rockland Recreation Center so Girl Scouts can use it as a delivery spot for their annual cookie drive.
• To appoint City Manager Rosemary Kulow to be Rockland’s representative to the Maine Service Center Coalition.
“Being a service center is a primary reason why taxes are high in Rockland,” said Councilor Brian Harden. “It’s really important that we stay active and work towards one day getting some relief.”