Artist Kent Schwartz of Nebraska City will be adding more color and history to the community this summer.

Schwartz intends on painting a large mural on the west wall of Memorial Way Park that will honor Nebraska City’s military veterans of the past and present.

The mural artist asked Nebraska City City Council commissioners during the April 4 meeting for permission to create the mural on the west wall. Commissioners approved his request and Street Commissioner Vic Johns called his artwork a “treasure” for the community.

“Across from my office there’s that (mural) of Woolworth. People stop by and take pictures of themselves and that mural all of the time,” Johns said. “It’s spectacular.”    

Schwartz is still working on the preliminary design of the war memorial mural, but in order to make it a true salute to the community’s veterans he’s asking for the public’s help.

Schwartz wants to incorporate faces of actual veterans onto the mural. He’s reaching out to residents to see if they have photographs of local military loved ones, preferably action photographs of them serving in a battle or war if possible.

“I want to try to commemorate some of the soldiers and the nurses who fought in the wars back from the Civil War to the present day,” he said to commissioners. “If anybody has personal pictures of their loved ones that were in a war and want it on the wall that would be great.”

Schwartz would prefer color photographs, however, he will accept black and white ones as well considering color photography wasn’t available during early battles and wars.

He said his plans are very preliminary right now as far as the mural’s design. He’s uncertain how many battle or war scenes will be depicted on the wall, but he does want the mural to be a proud art piece for the community.  

“We’re just in the designing stage and the thinking stages and we’ll try to get as much on there as we can,” he said. “I just don’t want to offend anybody that wants to get on there, but make them proud.”

There could possibly be a committee of people established in the coming months to make the determination as to which photographs will be used in the mural.

Schwartz said he’d like to move the tile mural, which was erected by a previous Leadership Nebraska City class, to the east wall in order to have enough room to create the mural. He added that the creation of the new mural wouldn’t be an additional cost to the city because it will be funded through the Paul John Anton and Doris Wirth Foundation Inc.

Schwartz said people can email photographs of military men and women to him at schwartzkent@yahoo.com. He will need submissions emailed by mid-May.

“That’d be wonderful if people wanted to send them in,” he said. “Not that we can get everybody on there, but we can definitely try to incorporate as many as possible.”

Later in the meeting, commissioners also listened as Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce Executive Director Amy Allgood announced this year’s 2016 “All Bark. No Bite” Arbor Day Tree Planter of the Year - Erv Friesen - and the Arbor Day honorees - Bill and Betty Davis.

Allgood read NCTC’s many requests for street closures, use of picnic tables and the downtown public bathrooms, and the like for the Arbor Day celebration, which runs from April 29 through May 1. After reading through the requests, commissioners approved them for the annual celebration.

In other news, commissioners also approved the following agenda items as well:

An application for a master plumbers and drain layers license to 3 Aces Construction LLC. of Nebraska City, A manager’s application for Casey Ahrendsen of Fareway Stores Inc. for a liquor license, For the Nebraska City Ballfield Improvement Association to install flag poles at the Nebraska City Softball Complex and to have the city auger the holes, A special designated liquor license to Fox Center LLC. for a beer garden on 5th Street May 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Adoption of Resolution No. 2700-16 for the published 2016 Comprehensive Development Plan, Transportation Plan and the Traffic Demand Model Technical report, To have Nebraska City City Attorney David Partsch send letters to landowners in the 4th and 5th rues and 5th Terrace neighborhood notifying them to pay portions of the $1,000 survey fee to vacate a portion of the street right-of-way, And John Hodges’ and Phil Wredt’s requests to close 17th and 18th streets along 3rd Corso for a barbecue and fireworks July 2.
The public is welcome to attend the next city council meeting Monday at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 1409 Central Ave.