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Posted on Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Dexter Village Council to consider health and safety plan, 'Friendly Troll' sculpture

By Ben Freed

The Dexter Village Council will discuss the development of a comprehensive Health and Safety program and a new public art proposal at its meeting Monday night.

City staff has recommended starting the health and safety project, which would take four to five months and cost just more than $47,000, in April 2014.


Dexter Village Council will decide whether to purchase artist Wendy Baker's "Friendly Troll" sculpture at its meeting Monday night.

From Dexter Village Council Packet

An outline of the plan, developed by F&V Operations, involves an initial review of the village’s existing health and safety infrastructure followed by the implementation of a new plan with a comprehensive Health and Safety Manual.

The new plan would cover a wide range of potential health and safety issues ranging from traffic zone safety to pathogen exposure control. The manual would also establish safe work practices for the village for issues ranging from safe lifting practices to spill and discharge control.

The plan is a discussion item and will not be voted on until a later council meeting. Village Manager Donna Dettling and Village Superintendent Dan Schlaff said in a memo to the council that development of the program should be a priority for the village.

“Staff also suggests that a commitment to develop this program go hand in hand with a guarantee to fund ongoing annual safety training onsite and offsite for employees,” they said in the memo.

“Development of a Comprehensive Safety Program will be a waste of time without follow through. [We] are committed to putting safety first, and plan to assign the program to one of the field employees of the village.”

The Village Council will also consider a proposal from the Public Arts Selection Committee to purchase a “Friendly Troll Sculpture” to be placed alongside the Border to Border bike and pedestrian trail. The sculpture will cost the village $4,000.

Eastern Michigan University student Wendy Baker will create the sculpture, selected by the committee and approved by the Arts, Culture & Heritage Committee. Baker was one of two applicants to submit plans for a sculpture when a “call for artists” was put out, and worked with the committee to come up with final plans for the sculpture.

Baker said in her application that her sculpture will be a “whimsical and interactive piece of artwork that will enhance the charm of the Dexter boardwalk.”

The troll will be approximately three to four feet tall and will be set on a base of boulders.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Wed, Sep 11, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

In Ann Arbor this public art troll would be six figures at least.

ronald sharp

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 : 9:57 a.m.

Interesting that there were only two sculptures proposed. Obviously the call to artists was not widely publicized since there are hundreds of sculptors in this area that would have submitted. This sculpture is inappropriate and not artful. Luckily it's cute and safe, the kids will like it and it's small enough that it won't be noticed. It's not quality art that you should get for $4,000. Must be art by committee. The dal is likely done now, but if not, I say reopen the call for submissions and get something good, not a large garden gnome.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Now THAT is the art for the Stadium bridge. Trolls and bridges just go together. Then we can take that THIRD OF A MILLION DOLLARS and do something actually useful with it.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

OMG. I'm afraid to think of the precedent this thing will set for future "public art" installations in Dexter. Troll town? Tacky, at best.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 3:52 a.m.

Oh my goodness.....


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 3:49 a.m.

Oh, please don't. The Chelsea birds are much classier. Dexter can do better.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 4:14 a.m.

Also, I would guess that it may be more of a magnet for "extra decorations" than the statues on Baker. The fact that it is near a police station will probably just make it more of a challenge.

Silly Head

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 12:45 a.m.


Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 11:52 p.m.

Ann Arbor City Hall needs a troll monument.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

It's no "Old Shriveled Guy With Shriveled Junk" like they have in Brighton, but that's a *good* thing. I give the Dexter Troll a thumbs-up.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

The Picker

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

What is this shriveled junk you speak of ?


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

It looks like a composite sculpture of typical internet commenters (not me, I'm more of a rodent troll).

The Picker

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

The Troll (creepy) is a diversion so you won't notice the giant money sucking bureaucracy that is being created here, in perpetuity, under the guise of public safety. Why not throw in that its for the Kids as well. Clean up the sloppiness that caused the "safety" issues at the water plant and deal with public safety with the funds you already have for this purpose! This is why Dexter should never become a City !

Marie Tapert

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:38 p.m.

Good point, John, what is wrong with contemplation of nature with out some "kitsch" piece of lawn art. This park is wonderful, let the people and their conversations and enjoyment of peace and quiet be enough. Not all art is worthy the name.

Dog Guy

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:10 p.m.

As they say at Vernor's, "There's no face like gnome."


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

Are friendly trolls usually half naked and sporting a beer belly? I never knew!


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 9:01 p.m.

OOPs, sorry, that would be UNfriendly trolls. Which, on a relative scale, are more "usual".


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

*Usually* they are completely naked and sporting a "goat-belly".

John Baird

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

We need a sculpture by the river because nature is so boring by itself. It's not enough to contemplate the burble of the creek, bird songs and the rejuvenated landscape.


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

I don't have a problem with whimsical art in a natural setting. It doesn't detract from the burble of the creek, bird songs, or rejuvenated landscape any more than a paved path or a metal bridge.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.



Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:06 p.m.

This comment is not meant to disparage Miss Baker but I do believe the Public Arts Selection Committee needs to put it out for bids again. I don't see a ggod selection being possible from a field of two entries. There should be no hurry to spend the $4000.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:52 p.m.

I think a good selection is *possible* with as little as one submission. I do think it is worthwhile to see many, so long as, in the end, it is not a matter of "best of what we got.". Llike with Ann Arbor "arts" projects, I hope that there is no obligation to go with designs if they are not appropriate & well designed. (also not a critique of Miss Baker's work, as I only see the one sketch and not her entire proposal and portfolio)

Paula Gardner

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Do I sound bitter if I say there's no such thing as a friendly troll?


Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Well played Paula, well played!

West Side Mom

Tue, Sep 10, 2013 : 3:04 a.m.

Paula - I hope your quips continue at MLive. You are a gem.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

I think there *could* be. I prefer to to imagine that any troll just *might* eat me.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

This will be a fun addition to the trail and a good motivator for tired kids.


Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

kitsch. They might as well add some garden gnomes and pink flamingos while they are at it.

Kyle Austin

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

As a Dexter resident and frequenter of the trail, it's worth pointing out that the path goes under a bridge right near downtown. I assume the plan is for the troll to guard the bridge (but hopefully not scare kids on the playground nearby)....

Richard Retyi

Mon, Sep 9, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

$4K for a creepy troll statue? A bargain at twice the price. And if this is my final comment, I think it's fittingly about public art and troll statues.