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Arts and culture commission supports Eagle Scout project

This PVC pipe organ is similar to the type of musical instrument/sculpture that Parker Harmon wants to build at Pioneer Park as an Eagle Scout project. (Submitted photo)

The Park Rapids Arts and Culture Advisory Commission voted Monday to support an Eagle Scout project proposed by a member of Boy Scout Troop 56 of Nevis.

Parker Harmon, who attends Park Rapids High School, told the commission that he hopes to build three musical sculptures, similar to xylophones or marimbas, in the grassy area at Pioneer Park.

Helping him with the design are middle school/high school band director John Cook and Paul Peterson, who has metal-working experience.

One of the instruments will be made of PVC pipe. Measuring 6-1/2 feet tall and 4 feet wide, it will have a six-note scale and will be played using flip-flop shoes as mallets.

The other two instruments will have metal pipes, one of them five feet tall and 3-1/2 feet wide with eight notes, the other wider with 12 to 14 notes. Rubber mallets will be provided to make the best sound, and like the flip-flops they will be secured with metal cords.

Harmon described their set-up as being kid-friendly and wheelchair accessible, durable enough to last for years, and producing only a soft "bum" or "ding" sound, so as not to disturb the neighbors. They will be supported by a wood frame.

Harmon described his plans to raise funds for the project and to use volunteer labor to help him complete it. He concluded that he believes the sculptures will enhance the downtown area.

Parker and his father, Mark Harmon, fielded questions from the arts commission.

Asked who will be responsible for upkeep of the completed sculptures, Mark said they plan on making them a gift to the city — but he added that repairs and improvements may be suitable projects for Boy Scouts in future years.

Commission member Rod Nordberg moved to recommend that the city council approve Parker's project with the arts commission's support. It was noted that the city's parks and beautification board has already given its green light to the project.

Other topics of discussion included proposals concerning a decorative barrier around the electrical panel at Pioneer Park, the trestle bridge near Red Bridge Park, the wall mural at Aunt Belle's Confectionary and the city's updated arts plan.

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