Russell was always going to replace the iconic arches the community lost, explains co-chair of the Main Street Revitalization Committee.
In fact, Spencer Reavie admits they didn’t give serious consideration to any other idea.
"Our committee was pretty dedicated to get something back up again," Reavie said, after the eight rotting arches were taken down last summer — the first, unexpectedly falling one June evening with a crashing thud.
"We have lots of people ask, since they’ve been down, when are you going to put them back up. We’re steadily working away at it and hopefully we’ll have something up this summer to the fall."
By late March, Reavie said a consultant group would present plans for the design and material of the arches, meant to accentuate Russell’s skyline for decades to come.
Each of the eight arches, situated at Main Street intersections, will be replaced, he said.
And two additional arches may be hoisted at Main Street approaches into Russell, at the southern intersection of Highway 16 and farther north at Manitoba Avenue.
Without the curved architecture, Russell’s main drag has looked bare.
"It was like a death in the family, basically, for our community; it was quite a loss," Reavie said. "Everyone was very disappointed when they went down and realized the beauty and the importance of them to our community."
Originally installed in 2007 and 2008, the arches were once used in the former Dauphin arena. When the arena was torn down, the laminate rafters were salvaged and two rafters were combined to form the arches over the street.
After one of the arches fell on June 8 last year, strewn across the intersection of Main and Augusta streets, an engineering report on the remaining arches revealed a dry rot in the centre of the arches made them unstable. They were dismantled that month.
Nobody was injured when the first arch fell.
The local committee is considering wood, metal or aluminum for the new arches.
"We’re looking at something that is low maintenance, has a long life and has the durability to last," he said.
The arches are a point of pride for Russell, he describes. They garner positive reactions from visitors about their attractiveness and how the architecture unites Main Street together.
Reavie did not have a possible cost estimate for the new arches.
He anticipates the maintenance fund, which taxpayers pay into yearly with the contribution of 1.5 mills of assessment and 1.5 mills of business tax, will be dipped into for the project.
A public meeting will be held to seek community input on the planned arches once the consultant group provides their recommendations.
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