By: John Beaudoin, KC Communication & Media Matters
LEE’S SUMMIT – Once a site thriving with apple, peach and pear orchards, a valley in Lee’s Summit is now home to a massive commercial development with a public art piece honoring that past.
Lee’s Summit metal artist Dave Eames has created ‘Infinite Harvest,’ a colorful, 11-foot-tall representation of a large bushel basket as a gateway public art piece to Summit Orchards – at Chipman and Ward roads near the Missouri Innovation Campus – a $125 million commercial development of Townsend Capital and Lee’s Summit resident Steve Rich.
Eames said the bushel basket is a key component of the many fruit orchards that were located in this area. Chipman Orchard, Marrone Orchard, Fiorella Orchard and Krebs Orchard all called this valley home. Nearby, Little Cedar Creek and abundant springs provided water resources. Elm Tree Farm and its stables was a well-known saddlebred horse farm nearby. The orchards and horse farm covered 340 acres at the site.
The four, brightly colored sides of the piece symbolize the seasons and interior LEDs will add a bright glow through the cutout fruit tree leaves on each side of the sculpture.
Eames and Rich said local historian Kathy Smith was a key figure in helping to open up the past use of the land so they could begin to envision a public art piece.
“We cannot thank the Lee’s Summit Historical Society and Kathy Smith enough for helping us research the history,” Rich said.
Eames, a downtown Lee’s Summit business owner of Fossil Forge Design and Local Foundery, along with his team Ben Wine, Colin Aubuchon and Remy Norton-Hood, have been leading the way in public art in Lee’s Summit and the Kansas City Metro area, providing signage and pieces to several projects and businesses.
“We were really honored to be asked to create a special sculpture for this site. Steve Rich and David Townsend were open to a variety of concepts, together deciding on this final design,” Eames said. “We believe strongly in the placement and variety of public art in Lee’s Summit. And we hope this sculpture will continue to raise awareness and pride in our City’s past, while still looking forward.”
Summit Orchards will feature an Aldi Grocery Store, Five Below, Lion’s Choice, Ross Dress, HomeGoods, The Flying Biscuit Cafe, a high-end, flagship convenience store, a luxury nail salon and is home to 635 luxury apartments.
“We are proud to generate over $125 million in development since this process was started four years ago,” Rich said. “We very much appreciate our relationship with the city and all of the partners that have helped us get to this point.”