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January 24, 2013

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Imagine if the Walnut Street Bridge got zapped by a mad scientist’s shrink ray, then got chopped into pieces, relocated to the Southside and turned into oversized playground equipment. Oh, and imagine that mad scientist put a steering wheel on each piece of the bridge so you can turn it every which way.

That’s how Pulse arts writer Rich Bailey described plans for The Main Terrain last summer, the new urban art fitness park opening Thursday on the Southside (at the 400 block of Main Street, between Main and 13th streets, it’s hard to miss) with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Later in the day at 5:30 p.m., the art and design team behind the park, landscape architect Thomas Sayre and Mike Fowler and Tom Norquist of GameTime, will discuss the design process and share their thoughts behind the making of Main Terrain in Ballroom 2 of The Chattanoogan Hotel. The talk is free and open to the public.

The Main Terrain is an urban redevelopment project that has transformed a vacant tract of land downtown into a unique urban art fitness park. Internationally-renowned artist Sayre was commissioned to design a series of sculptures that are the centerpiece for the park and are reminiscent of the iconic Walnut Street Bridge. The sculptures are movable so that park-goers can physically interact with the artwork. The park will also feature a new line of adult fitness equipment by PlayCore.

“What underlies the entire Main Terrain project is the act of bridging; bridging the physical space across a former polluted rail site; bridging community, the downtown and the renovated Main Street; and bridging the activities of urban design, art and exercise,” Sayre said of the project.

The park was made possible by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and by numerous locally based businesses and nonprofits, including the City of Chattanooga, ArtsBuild, Public Art Chattanooga, Lyndhurst Foundation, Ross/Fowler Architecture and Landscape Architecture and PlayCore.

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January 24, 2013

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