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Sculpture ideas get review in Hamburg

A combination of sculptures calling to mind the future while capturing the present and the past seemed to be the most popular suggestion for decorating the Village of Hamburg's roundabouts and streets.

Adding the sculptures is part of the village reconstruction project.

About 20 residents met with village officials and others Saturday in Village Hall to review some of the suggestions of sculptor Larry W. Griffis III, who has been commissioned to create the metal sculptures.

Griffis' works include the facade of HSBC Arena, "Eternal Spring" in Forest Lawn and the facade of the Grant Street overpass, all in Buffalo.

The Village Board will make the final decisions, but trustees and residents seemed to like the idea of abstract pieces depicting "growth" at the entrance roundabouts at Legion Drive and Clark Street and at Main and Center streets. They seemed to like more traditional works -- such as children climbing a tree, mother and daughter on a bench or boys fishing -- at Main and Buffalo streets and at Buffalo and Prospect Avenue.

Also to influence the work would be the material, bronze or stainless steel.

The state is paying for the $10 million reconstruction of Main and Buffalo streets in the business district, scheduled to begin in spring 2007. The village must pay for the decorative touches, although the state will provide foundations. The village has budgeted $150,000. Griffis said after the hourlong session that he can work with that.

Growth pieces would be about 12 feet high. Deciding what they mean is up to the individual, Griffis said. Some suggested they look like a tulip budding, and others said a flame.

Mayor Curt S. Herrmann conceded after the meeting that it will be impossible to please everyone. He also said he was somewhat disappointed in the small turnout. "If you're not involved in the process, you can't sit back and complain" about the final result, Herrmann said.

Observers at the session included Assemblyman Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, Town of Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters and Kenneth Kuminski, DOT project manager.

There has been talk of a clock tower in a roundabout. Griffis said there is nothing wrong with that, but it's not unique.

"I try to do something that pushes us a little further," he said.

The state Department of Transportation must review the final choices to be sure they won't be a safety hazard.


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