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Sculpture distracting drivers?

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City officials will decide next Tuesday if a new sculpture in front of The Commons can stay even though it might be distracting drivers at a busy intersection.

And they also want reassurance that the one-ton “Flamenco” is securely anchored at Fourth and Washington streets.

Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety members asked for more information Tuesday about the placement of the sculpture by Chicago artist Ruth Aizuss Migdal.

They delayed a decision about whether the Columbus Area Arts Council may have the sculpture in the public right-of-way until their next meeting.

The painted steel sculpture — one of eight selected for the arts council’s 2014 Columbus Indiana Sculpture Biennial project — was installed last week.

Mayor Kristen Brown and board member Bob Sullivan questioned whether the sculpture might cause line-of-sight problems for drivers.

Sculpture and other large items installed on prominent corners create visual distractions for drivers and pedestrians, the mayor said.

City Engineer Beth Fizel looked over the sculpture and location before “Flamenco” was installed and said the location doesn’t impede sight lines of drivers or pedestrians.

And board member Jayne Farber said she went out to the intersection Tuesday morning just before rush hour, and she is comfortable with the sculpture placement.

“It blocks less than some of our flower containers,” Farber said.

While she was comfortable with the sculpture’s location, Farber expressed concern about strong winds blowing over or moving the structure, since it is not anchored.

David Kadlec, who selected the eight sculptures in the Biennial program, said the sculpture can be anchored, but wasn’t concerned about it blowing over.

“Flamenco” was in Chicago — the “Windy City” — for years before coming to Columbus, Kadlec said, and it was unsecured there. And he said the sculpture is designed with most of its weight in the bottom plate so it can sit without an anchor.

“If that thing does blow over in a windstorm, there are going to be some awnings, and there is going to be some scary stuff flying around there in addition to the sculpture,” Kadlec told the board.

The arts council agreed to work with Fizel to anchor the structure.

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