In this column, the word “creativity” usually means to bring something into being that didn’t exist before. It can also mean, however, to solve a problem in a unique and novel manner.

The new construction of the pedestrian bridge in Palmer Lake utilizes both of these definitions.

The townsfolk of Palmer Lake realized they had to solve the problem of children, hikers and bicyclists crossing the railroad tracks. This was a dangerous activity that frequently occurred because no one wanted to walk or ride to the approved crossing. To solve this dilemma the town negotiated with the railroad to create a pedestrian bridge that would cross the tracks where people were crossing on their own. They worked out a schedule with the railroad, allocated public land and right of way and raised some funding, and the first phase of the project was put into place Jan. 7.

Additional funds were needed to pay for the bridge and labor to install it and this is where the creativity came into play. Most municipalities would ask for an increased tax on goods, services and property to pay for it. Palmer Lake chose to make the bridge part of the community and engaged the help of Jodie Bliss and the Bliss Studio in Downtown Monument to personalize the structure with railroad cars from locomotives to cabooses.

Individuals, families, businesses, churches, and nonprofits can purchase a locomotive, boxcar, or caboose to personalize with their own design. The train cars will be powder-coated to last for decades and will be installed on the inside of the pedestrian bridge, just below the handrail, for all to enjoy.

Image your business logo on a boxcar! Perhaps you had a relative who spent their lifetime and career on the railroad. What better tribute to them than having the family name on a car, caboose or locomotive? A memorial piece could be a combination of images of the thing that person loved and even their recognizable silhouette.

Perhaps you would just like to show support for your community by purchasing a car and decorate it however you choose! Your family could purchase a boxcar and personalize it with your pets, your passions, parents and children, even your favorite sports team.

If you aren’t artistic, the staff at Bliss Studios can help you design the image for the car. Or if you are looking for a smaller expression of your support for the community you can share a portion of a car with nine others.

For more information on this great creative community project go to awakepalmerlake.org or forgeyourbliss.com/palmer-lake-train-bridge-project.

We can make our pedestrian bridge safe and beautiful at the same time. All it takes is community and creativity.

Nancy Bonig is a professional glass artist living in Monument. She is the founder of Front Range Open Studios, and her kilnworked glass can be seen at the Denver Art Museum shop. Have an art event you would like her to cover? Contact her at nancy@bonig.com.

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