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City opts for some landscaping to start in Newhall roundabout

Posted: November 27, 2013 3:26 p.m.
Updated: November 27, 2013 3:26 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - The middle of the Newhall roundabout will feature modest landscaping initially after Santa Clarita City Council members chose Tuesday to take a broader look at public art citywide.

With the roundabout getting closer to completion in front of William S. Hart Park what goes in the middle of the traffic circle has been at the center of some controversy in recent months.

Originally, the city tabbed a public art piece for the space. But with questions remaining over what form that art piece should take, or if there is popular support for an art piece at all, council members decided Tuesday to landscape the center of the roundabout to start with.

The decision comes on the heels of a city survey where the largest number of responses indicated residents wanted the city to “do nothing” regarding the middle of the roundabout.

“I’m pleased to hear the people have spoken and I certainly hope we are going to listen to the people on this one,” said Councilman TimBen Boydston.

Mayor Bob Kellar said he thinks a number of those who said they would like to see the city “do nothing” in the middle of the roundabout probably voted that way because they have concerns with the roundabout itself.

The community at large would probably not be excited about a roundabout with naught but dirt and concrete in the middle, he added.

Councilman Frank Ferry also said he thinks the city needs to take some sort of action.

“I just would hate to see Santa Clarita become the city where doing nothing is an option,” he said. “We haven’t become one of the greatest cities in this state or across the nation by doing nothing.”

Councilwoman Laurene Weste, who in an earlier council meeting said a statue of Western film star William S. Hart and maybe his horse Fritz would be a solid addition to the roundabout, said there is no need to rush into a decision and, along with other council members, suggested taking the time to consult more closely with the Arts Commission to discuss crafting a master plan regarding public artwork citywide, including at the roundabout.

A statue of William S. Hart received the second-most votes in the city’s survey on what should go in the middle of the roundabout.
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