Photos by Regina Ortega-Leonardi
Community do-gooders, I Art Globe team members, and the City of Globe Public Works personnel recently stepped up and coordinated an effort to beautify and restore the first leg of an urban trail in Globe.
Volunteers ranging in age from 8 to 60+, along with seven Globe Public Works staff, trimmed trees, cleared brush, and removed trash. They then moved over 10 tons of rock, added four tons of topsoil, and planted more than 200,000 poppy seeds to beautify the iconic, concrete Silver King Stairs that afford a sweeping view over Broad Street and downtown Globe.
“Cathy’s foundation was happy to donate the poppy seeds towards this effort,” said Regina Ortega-Leonardi, community engagement coordinator for the Cathy Sanchez-Cañez Memorial Foundation and I Art Globe team member. “We also want to give a big shout-out to Debbie Yerkovich, who brought her chain saw, and Jackie Joe Aneas, who rolled up in his loader. As they carved away at the brush and plowed through berms, they unfolded the makings of a beautiful historic climb through our city.”
The City of Globe has been an I Art Globe partner from the start and their work on this project has been invaluable. Ortega-Leonardi added, “The effort by John Angulo, Richard Thomas, Uriel Perez, and the rest of the city public works crew was unmatched. Step by step, stone by stone, they placed rock up and along the stairway. They also paved the main walkway of the trail with crushed granite making it safe and appealing to the eye.”
In just under two weeks the volunteers and city staff prepped the scenic staircase for Phase 2, where they’ll get a metalwork makeover and two mural accents starting mid-February and continuing through March 25, culminating with a ribbon-cutting grand opening planned for the weekend of the second annual Poppyfest April 1-3. All of the art and metalwork have been made possible by a grant from Freeport McMoRan given to the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts for their “I Art Globe” Initiative.
A call-to-artists just before the New Year elicited 15 concepts from six creatives that were reviewed by the I Art Globe committee. Three projects were selected. Thatcher resident Brandt Woods’ winning stair art concept: a painting of cascading poppies on the risers of the 82 stairs. Jim Ohl, a retired contractor from Dripping Springs, works in metal and won a bid to provide railing improvements and handmade bollards for lighting along the stairway. Globe muralist Roberto Otero bid to paint a Gila monster and poppy-themed original on the short wall that stretches from the top of the Silver King stairs towards Apache Street.
“This project has generated excitement on social media and created hopeful anticipation among Globe residents eager to see vibrant renewal projects downtown,” said Dr. Thea Wilshire, local community builder and Chair of I Art Globe. “A project like this can benefit our overall wellness here in Globe and Gila County. Walking outside is arguably the single most cost-effective and research-proven way to boost your physical and emotional health. Being outdoors enhances creativity and problem-solving skills.”
Ortega-Leonardi adds, “All involved believe that beautifying these staircases has ‘place-making potential,’ drawing attention to their history, the potential for exercise, sightseeing, and even future tourism campaigns and stair-climb races. This trail will help spotlight Globe as a new recreation destination in our state.”
“This project is a shining example of what we can accomplish together,” Wilshire adds. “When people consider moving to, or starting businesses in, our community — one of the primary considerations of younger workers (half of the recent college graduates) is the place where they’ll be working, not the work they will be doing.” Drawing from research on placemaking, Wilshire added, “The art, recreation, creativity, history, and ‘fun factor’ of a place are foundational aspects of a healthy economic environment and are needed to keep our next generations here, while also attracting younger and more skilled employees in this new era of mobile work.”
The Silver King staircase is the first leg of a proposed Stairizona Trail that may eventually include five staircases and two pedestrian bridges. “We’re waiting for a large grant to come through to be able to keep cleaning and beautifying the staircases on this new urban trail,” Wilshire explains. “We hope to publish another ‘Call to Artists’ for these projects in the next few weeks.”
Want to get involved in this, or other worthwhile beautification or downtown renewal projects? Call the I Art Globe Hotline at 808-373-0032 and ask for Regina. You can also email <email@example.com> or <DrTheaW@yahoo.com> or join the growing community at I Art Globe (facebook.com/groups/483459872873383) and also facebook.com/groups/globecleanandbeautiful.
Thea Wilshire works as an author, psychologist, speaker, healthcare consultant, and AirBnB host. Her passions include community development, the creation of public spaces, trying new adventures, and sharing her therapy dog with schools and medical facilities. Find her blog at https://www.acornconsulting.org/blog.