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Global Village ParkThe Village of Lansing may feel quite local, but Village trustee Gerry Monaghan says it is actually a global village.  He means it quite literally.  Monaghan has counted 26 languages spoken by residents of the Village and the immediately surrounding area.  To bring attention to this phenomenon, he has spearheaded an art project with DeWitt Middle School students at the Lansing Village Community Park on Uptown Road.

"There's an after school program here at the Small Mall," Monaghan says.  These kids say, 'My family's from Hungary,' 'My family's from China,' 'My family is from Mongolia,' 'My family is from Uzbekistan,' 'We're German,' 'We're from Brazil,' 'We speak Portuguese,' 'We speak Spanish' -- it really is, in every sense of the word, a global village.  That is why this park is so well qualified to be the subject of Global Village Park."

Global Village Park

Global Village ParkGlobal Village Park is spelled out on the road front fence at Lansing Village Community Park

Monaghan says he started thinking about a project a few years ago when he was elected to the Village Board of trustees.  He saw it as a way to get to know residents who live in that portion of the Village.  This year he worked with the English as a New Language (ENL) program at DeWitt Middle School to obtain a Red and Gold grant, funded by IPEI.  Monaghan worked with ENL teachers and students for about eight weeks during class hours, then switched to working with the Art Club students, ENL students after school.

Global Village ParkLettering spelling out 'Global Village Park' is made from grape vines and wireSome pieces were made by groups of students, while others were crafted by individuals.  The lettering is made of wire and grape vines.  The hanging pieces are made of yarn, strings, cane, feathers, zip ties, thread and other materials, framed by hula hoops.  Monaghan says most of the materials came from the Dollar Store.

"A tremendous number of the students involved do live here in these apartments," Monaghan says.  "They helped create all the letters.  I really loved the way they took my materials and did things with them that I never thought of."

installation began near the end of May.  The pieces have already withstood a few storms, and Monaghan says people have been respecting the installation.

"There is a social contract, I think, around art," he says.  "And we used materials that aren't precious, so there's really no reason for people to want to play with it."

Monaghan says he is hoping to see the existing parks revitalized including improvements to the Community Park, more benches and a better entryway for Shannon Park.  While attention is being focused on a new park (see article in this week's Star) at the moment, he says he hopes the project will keep the other parks at the forefront as Trustees consider Village projects.

"It becomes a way to focus on this park, and as a village government we're talking about what else we can do to improve this park," he says.  "We need to look at some of the playground fixtures, and maybe clean up the woods a little bit.  There has even been an interest expressed by some of the people that live over here to have a community garden on the side of the park."

Gerry MonaghanGerry Monaghan

The Village currently has four parks, soon to be five : the Community Park and Dankert Park in the southeast portion of the Village, Shannon Park just west of the Ithaca Mall, Poison Ivy Point (not really accessable, except from the lake) and the new park being developed between Dart Drive and Northwoods Drive.

The Global Village Park installation is to remain through the summer.  Now that it has launched, Monaghan is hoping to get other Village community groups involved in contributing more pieces to be displayed.

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