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City Utility Boxes May Get A Facelift
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Have you seen those green and gray utility boxes that are placed throughout the City of Riverbank? They may be an eyesore to some and unnoticeable to others. The consideration of a Public Art Pilot Program was brought to the Riverbank City Council during their regular meeting in late January that would beautify the boxes with the help of local artists. After discussion by the panel at the dais and public comment, city staff was directed to create a pilot art program.

City Manager Sean Scully and Councilmember Cindy Fosi had a discussion about creating the program that would encourage student participation. Although the details have not been specified and are currently in the works, the establishment of an ad hoc committee, an application process and a small stipend for the selected applicants was proposed.

At the meeting, it was noted that Fosi and Councilmember Cal Campbell will be the two members to represent the council in the ad hoc committee along with a city staff member and the stipend is currently set at $150.

There are many of the utility boxes throughout Riverbank that the artistic design could make more pleasing to the eye. With research of what other cities have done by Fosi and city staff, they have some solid ideas on what they would like to see happen in Riverbank. They contacted the Riverbank Unified School District about partnering with them on this pilot program and giving the art students an opportunity to showcase their skills. The way the process would work is that the students would apply to the city and render a design and project location. If the city approved the design and proposed box then they would pay for the materials needed to complete the project.

Scully advised the council that they could start out small with only a few students and then, if it is a success, look at expanding the program.

Mayor Richard O’Brien made a comment that he would like to see the pilot program offered to not only Riverbank High School students but Enochs and Beyer students as well, which councilmember Luis Uribe agreed with. During public comment, former councilmember Leanne Jones Cruz agreed that it should be opened to Enochs and Beyer students, which she stated services Riverbank students as well. All students that apply must be Riverbank residents.

“I think that we will be surprised if we get five applications,” stated Scully at the council meeting. “I am not thinking that the flood gates are going to open and all of a sudden everybody is going to want to do this. So nothing is in here that doesn’t allow us to go wide to any art program or any school that would be interested to do it.”

The pilot program is still being fine-tuned, with more details to come once the final parameters of the program have been determined.