Project Jericho prepares for new bike path mural

Project Jericho students and leaders took to Springfield’s bike path recently to get a feel for their newest mural project that will be begin later this month.

Work on “Hope Ahead,” the title of the 20-by-30-foot mural which will greet bicyclists on the bike path at the intersection of Leffel Lane and South Yellow Springs St. will begin on May 17 for three weeks and unveiled in June.

Not only will the mural beautify the trail, it will also alert bicyclists that the trail north doesn’t stop at that intersection, a common misperception leaving some riders thinking they had to turn back or continue their rides on the street.

“(People) think the path ends but it goes on and these people will want to keep riding if they know,” said Gilberto Marquez, one of 10 Project Jericho students who will work on the mural under the direction of Springfield artist Kelley Booze. “‘Hope Ahead’ means there’s always something going on ahead and there’s also hope ahead of you. Maybe people can stop and admire the work too.”

Although she didn’t want to reveal specifics of the mural, Project Jericho success coordinator Kristi Limes found Booze’s common theme of the relationship between people and nature fitting. Booze previously aided on the Rose City mural in downtown Springfield in 2019 and this is her first lead project with Project Jericho

“Art is accessible to everybody. It’s about visitors and a neighborhood,” Limes said. “We wanted somebody who knows and loves Springfield and this mural will show the grit and resiliency of Springfield, which Project Jericho is a part of too.”

A collaboration among Project Jericho, Booze, National Trail Parks and Recreation Department and Bike Greater Springfield, it got rolling when the latter received a grant from the Ohio Bicycle Foundation.

Bike Greater Springfield president Scott King said the confusion leading people to think the trail ended at that intersection was a perfect chance to use the grant toward correcting that. He just wasn’t sure where to turn and became inspired seeing other Project Jericho murals around town and reached out.

“We’ve been working on trying to get this done for a year-and-a-half and we’re really excited to be working with the kids in our community on this,” he said.

Individual members of Bike Greater Springfield also contributed funds as did the Turner Foundation. The mural will be painted on a building owned by Jeff and Abby Boswell.

To give them a feel how the upcoming mural will benefit the biking community, King and other members of Bike Greater Springfield taught the students about bike safety – how to switch gears, handlebar movement and even how to change a tire.

On Thursday, May 6, Project Jericho students got new bike helmets and along with staff and Bike Greater Springfield members Basil and Claudia Fett, mounted bikes to ride the local trails.

While Marquez, a sixth-grader at Perrin Woods Elementary, and Nadia Roodt, a Kenton Ridge freshman, found it a little nervous and fun being on the bikes, they are most excited about contributing to their first mural project.

Marquez looks forward to talking with bikers who stop on the trail to ask about the work.

Given Project Jericho’s reputation for beautifying Springfield with the Rose City mural, the Catching Light mural on the Solid Waste District building and the most recent project, the basketball court mural at Woodward Avenue Family Park, this is their chance to be part of something that lasts and benefits others.

“I’m excited for sure, it’s the biggest project I’ve worked on,” Roodt said. “It’s good to connect with the community and the people I work here with.”

Project Jericho is a program of Clark State College supported through funding from the Clark County Department of Job and Family Services, The Ohio Arts Council, The Turner Foundation, Clark County Juvenile Court and private contributions.

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