Downtown Lincoln’s new streetscape and public artwork

In October 2012 Caltrans opened the State Route 65 Lincoln Bypass. “The Bypass offered the City of Lincoln an opportunity to change the aesthetic and function of Lincoln Boulevard to better serve multiple forms of transportation, adjacent land uses, and the connecting street network,” as the City of Lincoln notes.

Now the first phase of the project costing $1.2 million is taking shape between McBean Drive and 7th Streets. It includes streetscape improvements to Lincoln Blvd., including curbs and sidewalks, street lights — and public artwork.

Dennis Mortensen of Mortensen SignWorks and Murals created the first mural, reflecting downtown Lincoln’s tagline: “Downtown Lincoln, discover the charm.” The 80 foot-by-16 foot mural is Mortensen’s largest installation to date. He has recently worked extensively with food store chain, Trader Joe’s, designing and developing themes for painted decor and signage throughout the United States

The mural was made possible by donations from the Downtown Lincoln Association, Patrick Jewell, Art League of Lincoln, Gladding McBean, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Pacific Industries and Frayji Design Group.

All told, the first phase of improvements along with others will result in a $3.3 million investment in downtown. Other cities in the foothills and High Sierra, including Auburn and Truckee, have undergone major streetscape improvements in their historic downtowns. Auburn’s Central Square includes a bronze statue of a Nisenan by Douglas Van Howd.

The City of Lincoln’s history dates back to the Gold Rush era and the coming of the railroad in 1861. Later the founding of Gladding, McBean & Co. has served as a cornerstone of the community’s economy. Lincoln is now home to unique shops, restaurants and galleries, anchored by the Lincoln Brand Feeds Building. The surrounding area includes Wise Villa Winery and GoatHouse Brewing.

(Photo: Ron Nabity)

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