(Mike Allen)

At last, it seems “common ground” is being found on the proposed Uncommon Ground Sculpture Park in Edmond.

After a year of disagreement and drama about funding issues and contractural details, the parties involved with the “Uncommon Ground” project — the City of Edmond, donor Hal French and the Edmond Fine Arts Institute — face a June 10 deadline to finalize four agreements. The deals are getting close, but NonDoc’s Joe Tomlinson reports that key funding questions remain on a project estimated to cost “every bit of $65 million and probably $70 million.”

At a meeting last week to hash out long-term revenue for park maintenance and operations, an Edmond City Council member observed, “We can’t just pull [money] out of our ass.” An astute point about municipal governance, the remark illuminated a good question: What does maintenance look like for a sculpture park?

If you’ve ever examined outdoor public art, you may have noticed a primary source of sculpture maintenance: poop. Bird poop, to be precise. It tends to accumulate on large sculptures and statues. Will it cost $1 million to keep the castings clean every year?

Probably not, but it’s a dirty job, and someone has to do it.

Of course, as NonDoc has covered Edmond government and the details of this proposal over the last year, I am reminded by our editors that our Sustainable Journalism Endowment presents a way that $1 million can guarantee an independent journalism job covering a community in perpetuity. Journalism often takes some brass, so I wonder if anyone might ever donate $1 million to endow NonDoc’s Edmond Community Reporting Project?

Probably not, but it’s a dirty job, and someone has to do it.

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