Ask Joe: Why spend money on public artwork ?

News 4 viewer Bill Harvey wants to know why taxpayer dollars are being spent on artwork which is going up along the freeway. In particular, he mentioned a Native American basket he spotted near the Glendale offramp on U.S. 395.

What I found is that artwork is part of the 30 million dollar widening of Highway 395 from Moana Lane to the Spaghetti Bowl. NDOT is adding some landscaping and artwork at different points along the project. Scott Magruder, NDOT's spokesman told me that on federally funded projects the agency is required to spend three percent of the funding on landscaping and aesthetics. So in this case it's a little under one million dollars. Some of that artwork includes a Native American basket that's being sculpted right now near the Glendale offramp. So it is simply an effort to spice things up a little out along our roadways so that it's not just dirt and concrete as you're driving along.

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