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The 'Snow Artist' is changing his canvas in Riley Park

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Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-20 07:34:30-04

A Hancock County artist and a large group of volunteers are working together to revitalize a piece of history in Riley Park in Greenfield.

Rick Horton is known in Hancock County for the impressive snow art he does every winter but now he’s changing his canvas.

He said he got the idea to clean up the old well house and rock garden earlier this summer when he walked past it and saw how overgrown it had become.

This is what the Rock Garden looked like in July of 2023.

“I walked up here and saw all this covered up overgrown with weeds and I just thought, man this is such a neat area somebody needs to bring that back. and I thought well nobody's done it, yet I'll see if I can do it,” Horton said.

He told me he remembers visiting this area of the park as a kid with his mom. Even then, the well was empty, but the rock garden was a beautiful feature of the park.

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The rock garden circa 1930.

He said he alongside the Parks Department and a countless number of volunteers worked to uncover the beauty he knew was underneath.

“It was filled in from the top of these rocks all the way over to the top of these rocks all the way up here and lots of people have come down to the park and said they didn't even know this was here until it was uncovered,” Horton said.

Joshua Gentry works for the Parks Department, he said they are eager to bring the beauty back to this area.

“It was constantly re-mulching flowerbeds, planting plant life and cleaning the base of it out from just litter and debris and all the while we had no idea this beautiful thing was underneath the dirt. Nobody on staff was here when they buried it, we don't even really know who made that decision or why. We know it was due to maintenance issues and vandalism and we hope to correct that and bring it back to its former glory,” Gentry said 

Horton said this is something he wants to do for the community.

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They say the hauled off about 30 dump truck loads of dirt and debris from this area.
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The Rock Garden today after Horton, the Parks Department and volunteers cleaned it up.

“I picture people coming down here and enjoying this seeing the water and sitting around on benches you know taking it in flowers everywhere,” Horton said.

There is still lots of work to be done and Horton said none of this would be possible without the help from the parks department and volunteers.

You can follow along with the project by visiting The Snow Artist on Facebook.