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Ketchikan selects $95K decorative rain gauge

Posted: November 10, 2013 - 12:10am

KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — It took the mayor to break a tie vote, but the Ketchikan City Council has approved the selection of a decorative rain gauge that will cost nearly $95,000.

The city manager will now draw up a contract with two Dutch artists that the council must approve at a later date.

If the council ultimately approves the contract, the money for the gauge will come from a tax on cruise ship passengers, the Ketchikan Daily News reported (http://is.gd/ytezpy ).

The new gauge was needed after renovation work at the harbor exposed parts of a lift station and vent pipe. Those areas had been previously covered by a rain gauge that measures up to 200 inches of rain a year.

Ray Troll was one of many who supported the public arts project. In a letter to the council, he admitted there might be sticker shock at the price, but said it was worth it.

He also noted Ketchikan was “fiercely and somewhat oddly proud” of the amount of its annual rainfall.

The Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council received 31 proposals from 28 artists worldwide, and a panel last month selected the design from Dutch artists Jennifer Townley and Bette Adriaanse.

Their artwork would stand about 25 feet tall and weigh about 1,100 pounds. It consists largely of acrylic bottles connected by a series of tubes, which will be heated to prevent freezing. The bottles will represent each day’s date and the total accumulation of rain during the calendar year.

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Information from: Ketchikan (Alaska) Daily News, http://www.ketchikandailynews.com

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