Perry Parks Department prepares Josh Davis Plaza for public art

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The trellis from the Josh Davis Memorial Plaza was taken apart and put in storage Friday morning as part of the Art on the Prairie plan to bring public art to the north side of plaza.

Workers in the Perry Parks and Recreation Department trimmed trees and removed the trellis in Josh Davis Memorial Plaza Friday morning in advance of the public art project planned by the Art on the Prairie group.

The plaza was dedicated in November 2010 to U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Josh Davis of Perry, who was killed in action in Afghanistan in April 2010.

Backed by the Perry Economic Development Inc. and the Perry Chamber of Commerce, the Art on the Prairie group plans to hire Slater artist Shawn Palek to paint a patriotic mural on the 90-foot south wall of the building that houses the Mandarin Cafe at 1117 Second St.

The Perry City Council gave its permission for the public artwork Aug. 19 and agreed to remove the trellis and trim the trees. The trellis was disassembled and placed in storage Friday, according to Perry Parks and Recreation Director John Anderson, who said the removal took some effort.

“It wasn’t too bad,” Anderson said. “We used a maul to smash away the concrete at the base of the poles, and we used a nylon tow rope to pull out the posts without hurting them or anything.”

He said the trellis will soon be used alongside a privacy fence near the Raccoon River Valley Trail trailhead in downtown Perry.

Palek is expected to begin painting the mural once the wall has been powerwashed and primed by volunteers from the Nudgers development group. A proposed design shown to the Perry City Council featured a U.S. flag, a bald eagle and the dog tags of Josh Davis.

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