Tunnel Beautification Project Underway

Rendering of proposed tunnel design  |  Image © Raylene Gorum  |  post by Susan C Shea, member of the All the Children United steering committee

On May 11, the Sausalito City Council adopted a resolution to support a beautification project for the roadway tunnel between Marin City and Sausalito. The group behind the proposal, All the Children United, was born as a relatively simple idea for an art installation in tunnel. The finished design will serve as a symbol of connection and a physical pathway between the two communities that young children in the newly restructured school district will be traversing daily when the new school year begins.

Sausalito resident and public art installation designer Raylene Gorum has created a concept based on the handprints of the students in both communities overlaid on a broad background of bright color from one end of the tunnel to the other. That ribbonlike artwork will be augmented by smaller, historically themed murals on each end created by students in the school district, aided by Dominican University art students.

Generous seed grants from Sausalito Beautiful and the Sausalito Foundation have brought the project to this point, allowing the all-volunteer committee to hire and approve Gorum’s work and to present the initial design proposal and specifications to Caltrans. But the work is only beginning. The fundraising implications go far beyond the actual art installation. For example, the project will have to commit to paying for cleaning and painting a base color on all of the concrete walls, even though only part of that space will be included in the installation. Caltrans has explained that funding for long-term maintenance of the art site needs to be included in the budget. The logistics of getting approval and meeting Caltrans requirements are lengthy and complicated, but the steering committee is confident the project will succeed.

In addition, the Marin County Board of Supervisors must approve and formally apply to Caltrans on All the Children United’s behalf. Potential stumbling blocks will need action by the County before Caltrans will issue its approval. For example, Caltrans notes the critically important but long deferred County responsibility to replace burnt out lighting inside the tunnel and to repair the camera that is only occasionally functioning. Since improved lighting and an operating camera are essential for the safety of the young children who will use the tunnel daily, the art project leaders hope the County will be quick to repair that deficit.

The Sausalito Foundation has offered to serve as the non-profit fiscal agent for All the Children United, a major step forward in allowing the project to accept grants and tax-deductible gifts. The members of the steering committee have been receiving enthusiastic endorsements from major organizations and will continue to ask for and welcome support from everyone in Sausalito, Marin City, and Marin County in the weeks and months ahead.

Check back for progress reports on this project, including ways you can lend your support.