There’s a glowing, eerily peaceful blue-and-green Van Gogh bicycle path in Nuenen, the Netherlands, where artist Vincent Van Gogh lived and worked from 1883-1885. With a growing importance of bicycle paths and arts in Hamilton, some think the Butler County seat would be a good place for something similar.
The path is illuminated using solar powered, light-emitting stones. Costs of such a project are not known.
While nobody has formally proposed such a glowing path in Hamilton, two observers mused about the possibilities.
“Hamilton has done such a great job of embracing the arts and promoting history and culture in their community,” said Wade Johnston, director of Tri-State Trails. “I think a trail is a really amazing way to see that manifest itself into the built environment.”
“What if we could have public art and beautiful landscaping that could be installed along the (proposed) Hamilton Beltline (bicycling/walking trail in the West Side), for promoting a sense of place, and encouraging reinvestment in Hamilton, which already has got some great momentum,” he said.
Johnston said he believes an ideal location would be near the Fitton Center for Creative Arts, which is next to the Great Miami walking/biking path and also overlooks the Great Miami River.
“The sculptural park is right in that vicinity, too,” Johnston said. He noted Cincinnati has its Mill Creek Greenway, which has an art installation called “The Space Walk,” a to-scale depiction of the solar system, with solar panels that make it glow during the night.
“They also have edible landscaping along the trail, which is really cool, so during certain times of the year you can go and pick a fresh pear, and have that be part of your trail experience,” Johnston said.
Ian Mackenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center, said he has seen images of such paths.
“It sounds interesting,” Mackenzie-Thurley said. “Anything that can lead to safer, more interesting bike paths…. It’s always good to be looking ahead.”
And the idea about a segment near the Fitton Center?
“We’d love that,” Mackenzie-Thurley said. “Anything ingenuitive, interesting, engaging to the Fitton Center and the city of Hamilton, we’re all about. And the usage you see on the trails is fantastic.”
“Like any good arts center, we should be open to all new ideas, all new concepts,” he said, noting the new ramp that links the bike path to Hamilton’s Marcum Park and its RiversEdge concerts has further encouraged bicycling.
“I have friends who park their cars in German Village and hop on the bike trail, come back in, grab something to eat,” he said. “They go to (Municipal) Brew Works. It’s not just recreational — it’s a social connector also.”
“Hamilton has proven to be a place that’s willing to look at new things and new concepts, and try stuff out. I think it’s been a big part of the success that’s going on at the moment,” Mackenzie-Thurley said.