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Fantasy art / comic illustration 'Your Cultural Destination: Rail Babes': A Waterville Maine passenger train crosses the Kennebec River on a crystalline trestle held aloft by steel goddesses

Your Cultural Destination: Rail Babes

© Brian Vigue

A generation of warriors yields to a generation of workers, who then yields to a generation of artists. At a time in Waterville's future, a passenger train crosses the Kennebec on a crystalline trestle held aloft by steel goddesses. Passengers look to the left and see the Hathaway Hotel beyond Bridge Street. To their right, an ancient mill reclaimed by nature and turned bird refuge. In seconds they'll be arriving at the station near the Head of Falls amphitheater. Passengers marvel at the repurposing of miles of old freight track sculpted into modern works of art standing fifty feet above the river. Every artist in town must have had a hand in this revitalization.

Now to come back to reality. Unfortunately Waterville's idea of cultural planning is to hire an expensive out-of-town firm to host a bunch of discussions about the obvious. The first two-hour meeting entailed kindergarten style scribbling of ideas in colored markers on large poster boards. Each subsequent meeting was about suggesting this and that, filling out surveys, and suggesting this and that all over again. A year's worth of all talk and no action until the planning process fizzled. If the purpose of those meetings was to bore just one guy into actually getting up and doing something, then mission accomplished. Two years after the making of this picture, the City still doesn't know what to do with its waterfront. Parking Lot?

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