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Ferndale plans Metallica logo on bridge for children’s park

Plans for Ferndale’s Star Park, a children’s playground, to be built in late May and early June 2016.
Plans for Ferndale’s Star Park, a children’s playground, to be built in late May and early June 2016. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

For decades, a mystery artist has painted ever-changing Metallica logos in the center of the locally iconic railroad bridge that spans the Nooksack River.

Now, the city plans to memorialize the tagger’s work on a miniature bridge destined for Star Park.

Never mind that the kids who play in the children’s park likely won’t have a clue that the name references a metal band whose heydays were in the 1980s and ’90s — or that the band’s dark lyrics are hardly G-rated material.

As for memorializing the work of a tagger?

On a more practical note, if we don’t put something there, somebody will.

Ferndale spokesman Riley Sweeney

“We thought, ‘Why not embrace it? Why not make our bridge in miniature look like the bridge across our city,’” said Ferndale spokesman Riley Sweeney, adding that the city doesn’t intend to glorify a misdemeanor crime but rather a quirky aspect of the city’s history.

“On a more practical note, if we don’t put something there, somebody will,” Sweeney added.

To decide which of the seven different Metallica logos — intermittently painted on the bridge since at least 1979 — should go on the Star Park bridge, the city is holding an online contest.

Those interested in voting for a logo should first visit the city’s website, cityofferndale.org, to view all seven options, which correspond with numbers. Casting a vote is as simple as posting a comment with a number in a thread on the city’s Facebook page.

Sweeney also is collecting votes via email at rileysweeney@cityofferndale.org.

About 360 votes had been cast as of Thursday afternoon, March 31, Sweeney said. Officials would like to have all votes by Friday, April 8.

The tagger or taggers behind the logos might even get to paint the voters’ favorite on the small bridge.

The city plans to reach out to local artists to see who would be willing to volunteer time to paint the logo and create other art fixtures in the park, Sweeney said. But any volunteer or group of volunteers could be tasked with painting the logo, he added.

The park’s construction is scheduled for May 31 to June 5 using entirely volunteer labor. Prospective volunteers can sign up for shifts at the city’s website. About a quarter of the volunteer shifts have been filled, Sweeney said.

A project that began in 2014, Star Park was designed using the ideas of Ferndale schoolchildren. The $320,000 project was funded mostly with a state recreation and conservation grant of about $230,000. City revenue from a real estate excise tax and donations from residents made up the remainder.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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