A Garden City teenager's vision has come to life in stunning fashion.
As part of an Eagle Scout project, Ryan Steel set out to pursue a project that benefitted the city in some way. He learned of the city's interest in a beautification plan that involved trying to add more art or other items to improve local entryways.
After three years of raising funds and planning, a new, 8-by-14-foot entryway sign on South Main Street near the Peebles Complex started taking shape and now stands as an impressive statement to motorists and others going to and from the city.
The new structure pays tribute to the community's heritage with 4-by-4-foot bronze plates depicting buffalo, trains and cattle.
Steel reportedly has raised about $36,000 for the Garden City Make It Beautiful project, including contributions from the city of Garden City, the Finnup Foundation and donations from several local businesses and individuals.
And Steel isn't finished. He's still working to raise funds for sidewalks and landscaping needed to complete the project, one that has helped the city on its path toward a worthwhile goal.
City leaders cited "Enhance Community Entryways" as an area of emphasis in recent years. The plan involves establishing guidelines that project a positive image of the community, with an identifiable community brand at every road into town.
The new south entryway project fits. Along with dressing up an entrance to the city, consider the new structure a fine example of how public art can help enrich a community by flaunting its unique culture and heritage.
And, it's a great addition to public art in a community that's welcomed a growing number of interesting, meaningful pieces of artwork, including those on Kansas Avenue, Main Street and at the Finney County Public Library.
Public art is more than something attractive to admire. It shows visitors that residents care about their home, sentiment that should never be taken for granted.
Steel said when he saw the new structure being built, it gave him a feeling of pride. His fellow residents of Garden City should feel the same.