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Work will continue next year to bring life back to a sculpture park for the community to enjoy. Photo by Christopher Michalski.

Interactive landscape park to come back to life

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Fifteen years ago a sculpture park was erected on the north side of New York Mills alongside Highway 10.

Now, Jamie Robertson, executive director of the NY Mills Regional Cultural Center, is working to create a relaxing, interactive landscape sculpture park for the community to enjoy.

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The plan is to plant native trees, grasses and forbes (flowering plants) to beautify the park.

"Rather than a maze which frustrates you, the labyrinth design has no dead ends, to lead you towards the self and to achieve a meditative state," he said. "Which, in a way, is the aspect you get from art which transports you to a heightened sense of reality that you don't get in everyday life."

Robertson said that he's currently working with the city of NY Mills and the Civic and Commerce Association to help raise money for the creation of a visitor shelter and informational kiosk.

The park, he said, would be a wonderful place for family gatherings.

Work has already begun to revive the park. Sculptures, and the fence, which is a work of art itself, have been repainted.

For the construction of the fence, molten iron was poured into molds and participants were invited to put memorabilia or to add a personal touch to their piece of the fence.

"Each personalized piece of the fence makes it more connected to the community," Robertson said.

When the labyrinth is constructed, community members will be invited to use unique or personalized rocks in its formation to "participate in the construction of the landscape sculpture," he said.

Community support

NY Mills residents Robert and Ingrid Sonnenberg, who were honored by the American Tree Farm System as North Central Regional Tree Farmers of the Year, donated seven-foot native white spruce trees to the park and planted them.

The Sonnenbergs also were the runners up for the National Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year award at the National Tree Farmer Convention in Burlington, Vt.

In the past year, Robertson said, the park has also received donations and support from other community members, the city of NY Mills, the NY Mills Civic and Commerce Association and Sonnenberg.

"This is an interactive community project," he said. "The park is a great idea and needs a lot of attention. This will be a great place for people to go to as a destination."

Anyone interested in participating in the project should contact Robertson at the NY Mills Regional Cultural Center at 218-385-3339.

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