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Gunnison unveiled and dedicated the Legacy Wall, built on the east end of the city’s Legacy Plaza, amid rain but nevertheless much fanfare, on Saturday, Sept. 23, bringing to completion a 10-year effort to recover from the under-ground gasoline leak at a convenience store that once occupied the very location where the wall now stands.

 

Gunnison City dedicates, while citizens admire, Legacy Wall

 

By John Hales

Staff writer

Sept. 28, 2017

 

GUNNISON—Gunnison residents who braved the inclement weather were well rewarded when the new Legacy Wall—almost certain to become the city’s landmark feature—was unveiled last weekend.

A large, undaunted crowd waited with anticipation as the cover that had hidden the wall while it was being finished was raised to reveal the tile and artwork underneath.

The event was celebratory and at the same time almost reverent. People were awed by the wall, which exhibits an artistic and historical quality exceeding the general standard for public art in Sanpete County and other rural areas.

Even Richard Nay, husband of the woman who spearheaded the project, was impressed.

“It turned out a lot better than I thought,” he said to fellow admirer Kim Pickett.

Pickett agreed, “It did. It’s just like—wow.”

In a dedicatory ceremony, the wall was described as a labor of love, an example of the toughness of the Gunnison community.

“This project has changed my life as an artist,” said Michael Moonbird, creator of the wall art. “I now understand that small rural towns and communities need great art too, just like big cities do. Of course, for a small town or community to make this happen takes people who are willing to sacrifice and harness a never- give-up attitude….”

It was such an attitude that the wall was intended to convey all along, coming as it did as part of a community effort to recover from the awful underground gasoline leak that originated at the Top Stop gas station. The station was located on the site where the wall now stands.

“A lot of people have asked, ‘Why? Why are we doing this?’” said Lori Nay who, as former Gunnison mayor, led the city’s fight to recoup its financial losses and health after the gasoline leak, including the move to convert the Top Stop site into a community plaza.

That was in 2007.

“And here it is 2017,” she said. “Just like our forefathers here in this town, we figured it out, and we’re better for it.”

Even the rain, some might have said with a silver-lining attitude, was symbolic of one final cleansing of the last traces gasoline smell.

“It’s all gone,” Nay affirmed with a smile and with the contentment of someone who has seen a dream come to fruition.

 

Diana Spencer, who co-coordinated the development of Legacy Wall and Legacy Plaza, points out a feature of the wall to Victoria Bourne, executive director of the Utah Department of Arts and Museums

Long after much of the initial crowd dispersed following a dedicatory ceremony, Victoria Bourne continues to admire Legacy Wall, which was unveiled on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Gunnison.