Jack Kerouac statue to find home in Fraser | SkyHiNews.com

Jack Kerouac statue to find home in Fraser

A life-sized statue of a famous literary figure will be the centerpiece of Fraser’s newly revitalized public park.

Fraser will be purchasing the $50,000 statue of Jack Kerouac using money from the county’s Conservation Trust Fund after the Grand County commissioners unanimously approved the town’s application.

The Colorado Department of Local Affairs distributes the Conservation Trust Fund to local governments using proceeds from the Colorado Lottery. These dollars can be used for the acquisition, development and maintenance of new conservation sites or for capital improvement or maintenance of public recreation sites like parks and open spaces.

Before accepting the application the county did confirm with DOLA that this use of the funds would be acceptable, as the statue will be on public property in an area with recreational use. Conservation Trust Funds are split by commissioner district in Grand, and the majority of the funds will be from District 1, which covers the Fraser and Winter Park area, along with small contributions from the other two districts.

Local artist Howard Neville created the bronze statue of Kerouac, which was unveiled in 2019. Kerouac is known as a forefather of the hippie movement, his work credited with influencing ‘60s rock bands including Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Grateful Dead and The Doors.

The novelist and poet died at 47 in 1969 and has a tie to the Fraser Valley. He frequently traveled US Highway 40 and wrote about Berthoud Pass.

This will not be Neville’s first work to be on display in the area. He created the life-size bronze statues of Glenn Miller and Dwight Eisenhower, which sit in Fraser’s Lions Ponds park.

The Kerouac statue will be the centerpiece of the Fraser Mural Park. The pocket park, which sits behind Fraser Valley Distilling, saw major improvements over the last few months thanks to a nearly $100,000 Revitalizing Main Street grant the town received from the Colorado Department of Transportation earlier this year.

Fraser Marketing and Communications Manager Sarah Wieck explained that a few items, like a bike rack and bike repair stand, will be added next year, but that the major work has been completed.

Wieck, who’s also the staff liaison for Fraser’s Public Arts Committee, said that County Commissioner Rich Cimino encouraged the town to apply for the Conservation Trust Funds for the statue purchase. She said the statue will bring even more public art to Fraser and help tie the new public space together.

“After that work got done — all the concrete work — I was like, ‘The space needs more,’” Wieck said. “It’s coming together kind of on its own, which is neat.”

The Public Arts Committee plans to schedule events throughout the year at the Mural Park.

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