City government will begin installing the first of two decorative arches on Charlie Watson Lane in downtown Sanford in the coming weeks.

Liz Whitmore, a city planner who works with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission, told The Rant that the first arch will be approximately 14 feet tall and stand at the end of Charlie Watson Lane that meets Steele Street.

“Concrete is to be hopefully poured the first or second week of May,” Whitmore said in an email. “(Artist) Chris Dalton will tile the concrete pillars  in a mosaic pattern and the arch will be attached to the top of the pillars.”

Attached to the arch will be several metal sculptures, including a sun and moon, as well as multiple animals (pictured below).

Artist Jason Morris was commissioned to design the arch.

“This has taken a good 18 months to get it to this point,” Whitmore said. “The (Tourism Development Authority) gave us a grant for $7,000 for the arch. We fundraised the other moneys. (Downtown Sanford Inc.) gave us a grant for $5,000, $4,6750 went towards the lighting in the alley and the remainder, $325, will help pay for the arch project.”

Whitmore said she doesn’t have an exact date for completion, although she said expects the project to be done sometime in June if there are no delays.

Whitmore said the city hopes to install a second arch at the other end of Charlie Watson Lane within the next two years. The alley, which is not open to vehicle traffic, has become central to Sanford’s public art program in recent years. It also includes the “Before I Die” Wall, as well as an interactive butterfly wing mural.