Packers Heritage Trail Plaza gets facelift
By Press Times Staff
GREEN BAY – More than a decade after being installed, the Packers Heritage Trail Plaza, located on the northeast corner of Washington and Cherry streets in downtown Green Bay, has a fresh new look, just in time for Green Bay Packers training camp.
Oscar Leon, one of the creators of the display with Sculpture Resource LLC, took time last week to freshen up the plaza’s iconic statues, giving color to Johnny Blood’s uniform and repairing and reinstalling the out-of-commission little girl seeking Bart Starr’s autograph statue that was vandalized about a year ago.
Leon said the paint work to the jersey on the Johnny Blood statue was historically driven.
“We were asked to change the jersey from blue to yellow based on a historical photograph recently found,” he said. “They wanted a more accurate depiction of what he looked like during that time period.”
Leon said the statue of the little girl received extensive work.
“She was ripped out of the ground with the mounting hardware completely missing,” he said. “The hand holding the book was cracked and nearly broken off completely.”
Leon said the process to fix her included strategically cutting the statue to repair it from the inside out.
“A stainless rod was placed and welded into the arm’s interior to add strength and protection from vandalism attempts,” he said. “A typical bronze statue is hollow with a wall thickness of approximately 3/8 inches, thus can be damaged in thinner areas like the young girl’s arm.”
Leon said the statue’s mounting hardware was replaced into the interior of her shoes.
“The method used for the hardware increased the support area significantly to increase the strength to keep her in place. A circular plate was added to her shoes to help cover up the internal support and to add stability.”
Leon said as he was working on the statues, many people stopped to ask him what was going on.
“Everyone said ‘thank you’ more than once and were genuinely interested in what I was doing,” he said. “The process of seeing someone actively working on art is exciting for most people, and I have a lot of fun talking to them about it. There’s a lot of gratitude towards having these statues in Green Bay.”
The plaza also houses statues of Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame member Paul Hornung and team co-founder George Whitney Calhoun.
The Packers Heritage Trail Plaza is a part of the larger self-guided walking, biking and/or driving tour that makes its way through Green Bay and De Pere, showcasing the rich history of the Green Bay Packers.
The free tour features 25 bronze commemorative plaques located at sites where the history of the team and its fans unfolded.
Jeff Mirkes, executive director of Downtown Green Bay, Inc., said he’s happy to see the statues back in tip-top condition.
“Throughout the year, it’s great to see people enjoying and taking pictures at the Packers Heritage Trail statues,” he said. “Training camp and football season brings people from all over the country, so it’s very nice to have this impressive downtown public art installation in top condition.”