The railroad-approved zinc-based paint used on the overpasses is expected to last about 20 years. The mural, tentatively designed to incorporate various geometric shapes, would be longer-lasting than the artwork made from acrylic paint and butcher paper he and wife Kara created on the exterior of the downtown Allen County Library in 2013, which was designed to gradually disintegrate when exposed to the elements. Tobias has a degree in art from the Cleveland Art Institute.
"We need an entrance that will bring people into the arts campus, and this will provide that," Holocher said. Work is expected begin this year. Private-sector funds could also be sought for improvements to other overpasses, including one on Broadway that could be addressed next year. The railroad bridge over Lafayette Street entering downtown from the south has also received a less-extensive facelift.
In addition to the cosmetic improvements, officials are also working to make downtown more accessible for pedestrians when entering from the Lakeside Neighborhood on the east. New crossings are being reviewed and Freimann Square and the plaza at the county-owned Rousseau Centre adjacent to the Landing could also be incorporated into the plans.
"(That area) is a bottleneck, and our goal is to activate (access from) the east side through Freimann to the riverfront, trying to come up with a way to get through where the sidewalk ends (on Columbia)," added Bill Brown, director of the Downtown Improvement District.