A possible candidate for the city poet laureate position was introduced to Athens City Council on Monday.
Wendy McVicker, a resident artist and poet in Athens County, was introduced to Council for the Athens poet laureate position. McVicker would be the third person to hold this position, which was previously held by Kari-Gunter Seymour.
Poet laureates serve for two years and receive a $2,000 stipend each year. A poet laureate aims to promote literacy and advocate for the arts for members of their community.
Bonnie Proudfoot, former associate professor at Hocking College, introduced McVicker to Council and provided her credentials for the poet laureate position. McVicker is the author of three poetry books, has been a feature poet in the Power of Poetry Festival in Hocking Hills and has been a cohost for over 20 years at WOUB’s Conversation from Studio B.
“I think the city of Athens can consider itself very fortunate to have received Wendy’s application,” Proudfoot said.
McVicker explained that during her time as poet laureate, she would like to plant more trees around Athens, which she referred to as “poetrees,” or trees that are planted with slips of poetry underneath them.
“I’d love to see other ‘poetrees’ planted around Athens … it’s the kind of thing when I was writing my proposal I was thinking ‘I can’t do that by myself’ … but we have a wonderful community that I think would be interested in being a part of tree planting,” McVicker said.
Council also addressed a change in funding for the Richland Avenue passageway project that would add about $282,500 in contingency funds.
Currently this project costs about $3,200,000. The city will pay about 43% of that cost and Ohio University will pay about 10%. The OU Board of Trustees has discussed adjusting its funding commitment for the project from about $400,000 to about $647,000, though this adjustment is not yet official, Peter Kotses, D-At Large, said. This would change Athens’ financial commitment to about 37% of the cost of the project and OU’s commitment to about 16%.
Councilwoman Sarah Grace, D-At Large, said while the project will cause inconvenient traffic changes, it is necessary for the safety of pedestrians.
“Although it will certainly be a bit of an inconvenience for many of us here in the city to have Richland Avenue closed for an extended period of time, I’ve had multiple people that have talked to me and said, ‘boy, something has to be done about that crosswalk on Richland Avenue,’” Grace said.