Courthouse statue will likely be in place this fall

Hunter Herbaugh
Thursday, September 9, 2021
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Local artist Pamela Harr’s statue Ground Tied will be displayed in an area outside of the Dawson County Courthouse later this fall. Ranger-Review file photo

Although it was expected to be installed a year ago, the community’s latest and largest bronze sculpture has still not been placed in its reserved spot in front of the Dawson County Courthouse. However, this could be change by next month.

The concrete space currently sitting vacant in front of the courthouse is reserved for Ground Tied, a large bronze sculpture designed by local artist Pamela Harr. It features three children on the back of a horse with a dog sitting on the ground. The statue was donated by Harr to the county in an effort to expand on the pieces of public art in the community, however its placement has been postponed as the county commissioners have been unsatisfied with the results of the job.

The materials and labor for the base were donated by various local entities, orchestrated by Fisher Sand and Gravel. The concrete was originally poured roughly a year ago, however the final product came out looking bumpy and rough on the walls when they were supposed to be smooth. Commissioner Brad Mitchell added that the sprinkler system lines for the courthouse lawn were also not placed prior to the concrete being poured. With these flaws, the commissioners requested that the concrete be removed and redone.

Now a year has gone by and the original concrete is still there. While the commissioners said they would like to see it fixed, they also noted that because the county does not want to pay for the replacement and Fisher Sand and Gravel has volunteered to fix it, they are in a waiting pattern.

“We’re not gonna pay to have it done, that’s kind of a bad deal when you’re waiting on people to do it pro bono,” Commissioner Dennis Zander said.

Fisher Sand and Gravel Operations Manager Mike Newton noted that he is still planning to replace the base, however he is still trying to gather the necessary resources, as Fisher does not have all the tools required. He’s been reaching out to other local businesses and even individuals, trying to gather what is needed. He expects, though, that the old base will be torn out and a new one will be in place by the end of October.

“I’m hoping we’ll have the whole thing done and the bronze set by the end of October at the latest,” Newton said. “It’s just a matter of getting someone during the busy season. As you noticed we had that thing poured early April/early May. That’s because the contractors who were volunteering to help weren’t so busy, so now we’ve got a find someone who can donate a breaker – we don’t have one – and their time. We’ll truck it off, that’s not an issue. Then we’ve got Don Higbee who’s going to help with forming and Al Aldinger is gonna come out of retirement to help with it. We’ll get it done, she’ll be nice.”

Despite the delay, Harr herself isn’t too concerned about how much longer her statue will have to wait, as she said she is certain it will be put in place all in due time. In the meantime, she has been focusing on her next projects.

Her current upcoming works include “It’s Gonna Be a Rodeo,” a two part statue that will be placed on two corners of the intersection of Kendrick Avenue and Towne Street. Bothstatue pieces are currently being assembled in Billings and she expects they will be here in about five weeks.

Harr is also currently working on a statue to place in front of the new Dawson Community Airport terminal once it is finished and she is in talks with Glendive Medical Center to make a statue for them as well.

Ground Tied is currently being stored at the EPEC.

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“I’m hoping we’ll have the whole thing done and the bronze set by the end of October at the latest,”

Mike Newton, Fisher Sand and Gravel