An eagle sculpture now stands guard where an 80-foot cottonwood tree once stood in Parkville’s English Landing Park.
The sculpture has been created by the grassroots chainsaw artist T.J. Jenkins. He lives close to the park and thought it would be a great place for his work, so he talked to the parks department about the possibility.
“It’s a beautiful park and I go walking down here a lot,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins was inspired by a fellow chainsaw artist he knows in Iowa who does one sculpture a year in the parks near his hometown.
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The eagle is the first piece of artwork in the 60-acre park. City of Parkville Park Superintendent Tom Barnard says the cottonwood tree that provided the stump for the sculpture was estimated to be between 50 to 60 years old. It was declining and centered behind the park amphitheater stage.
“We knew the tree had to go, but in the process we thought since it was just a perfectly placed tree we could make better use out of it and decided to have a carving created,” Barnard said.
The city held a contest on its website to determine what kind of figure Jenkins would carve. Voters were asked to decide between an eagle, a bear or a figure of Lewis and Clark. The eagle won by a large margin.
Jenkins is also the artist behind the Bear Head Road project. He has carved and posted about 150 bear heads and posted them on roadside trees throughout Platte County. While the Bear Head Road project is a community service, Jenkins also sells his work at local festivals and does chainsaw carving demonstrations.
While this is the first piece of artwork in the Parkville parks, Barnard explains it may not be the last. The City of Parkville is in the process of going through a park planning process. Preliminary plans will be available and open to public feedback during the city’s Fourth of July Festival in the park.