Satnan: Trail’s End: More than monument in mind
Dale Yelton is driven to celebrate Sedalia’s cowboy roots. And as co-chairman of the Trail’s End Committee, his vision extends way beyond the multiple-element piece of public art he and his supporters are trying to place in the city.
After the Democrat Editorial Board last week suggested placing the Trail’s End monument — the concept for which now includes a statue, a locomotive, a cattle car, a drover’s car, a water tower and, the latest addition, a windmill — in the downtown area near the Amtrak depot, Yelton was invited to address a group of downtown business owners who meet weekly to discuss ways they can work together.
Wednesday morning in the Maple Leaf Tea Room, Yelton was asked a series of questions by Jackie Fike, owner of Jackie’s Salon, about the Trail’s End initiative. Yelton’s an admitted yakker, and Fike had to cut him off a couple of times to keep his presentation within the group’s time constraints. Still, the dozen or so business owners in attendance got a good earful of what Yelton and his group have in mind.
As far as placement of the Trail’s End monument, Yelton’s not going to get his first choice. Or his second. He’s banking on his third, but just in case, he has options four and five in mind.
His first choice is a strip of land at the southwest corner of the intersection of U.S. highways 65 and 50.
“In our mind, it was surplus land, owned by the state and under control by (the Missouri Department of Transportation),” Yelton said. MoDOT would only release the land to another governmental entity, so the city of Sedalia would have to accept responsibility for it; MoDOT officials also said Yelton needed the owners of property on either side of the parcel to sign away any claim to it. One provided a letter, but the other would only provide a verbal agreement. The city also has not provided documentation that it would accept the land, he said.
Yelton is convinced that all of those pieces will fit in that space and not provide a visual obstruction for motorists. I have my doubts about that. I also think the last thing we need at the busiest intersection in the city is a distraction of that size; travelers likely would slow down to try to check it out, and that would disrupt the flow of traffic and potentially cause accidents.
The second option is the southwest corner of U.S. 65 and 16th Street, on the Missouri State Fairgrounds. The lack of a tie to the state fair and the state attorney general’s liability insurance requirements knocked that one out.
Last Monday, Yelton made a pitch to the State Fair Community College Board of Trustees to place the Trail’s End monument on its land at 16th Street and Clarendon Road. He’s awaiting a response and is hopeful for approval. But should his wish not come true, he has two other spots in mind: the former Woods Supermarket site and the plot of land where Main Street meets U.S. 50, behind the Galaxy Theater.
Yelton and his crew, which includes an impressive collection of local movers and shakers, will get the Trail’s End pieces placed — they have the motivation, the clout and the cash to get it done. But the monument is just the start.
The business group was excited about the prospect of launching “Rawhide Days,” a fall festival that could include a rodeo, a cowboy chuck wagon cook-off and a country-western concert. Yelton said that idea is a long-range goal, but his committee believes if done right from the start, such a celebration could draw thousands of people “to celebrate our western heritage.”
“Sedalia has so many things that have to do with western heritage that could be put together into a fall festival,” Yelton said. “Can we just jump into that? I don’t think so. ... You have to go one step at a time and you have to do it right. You don’t get to fail.”
Yelton has that right. While he appreciated the merchants’ enthusiasm, he said if you are in too much of a hurry, you end up with a mediocre project and it dies off quickly. He expects it will take a couple of years at least to get local service clubs to tie into the concept and agree to sponsor events. Dr. Doug Kiburz is a cowboy poetry aficionado and a member of the Trail’s End Committee, so Yelton sees poetry readings as a potential feature; I offered the idea of bringing some of the Scott Joplin fest performers back for saloon-style piano performances.
But first things first — securing a location for the monument.
Fike said the business owners voted to support Trail’s End.
“We are overjoyed to be a part of this project, even if only through Rawhide Days,” she said. Yelton was thankful for the support, but said the event is barely a concept at this point.
“We have to have some patience, we have to have planning and we have to have people like you,” he told the group.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Local Gas Prices