Members of a group raising funds to install a labyrinth at Beachfront Park will meet with a builder later this month who will take measurements and fly a drone over the proposed site before creating design specifications.

Proponents of the Beachfront Labyrinth Project hope to raise enough money to complete it by 2020, said Denise Doyle-Schnacker, founder of the Redwood Happiness Initiative, one of the project’s main supporters. The labyrinth is part of Crescent City’s Beachfront Park Master Plan and will be located in the Howe Drive East section near the new steps that lead to the water, she said.

Doyle-Schnacker said she and other proponents of the project, along with Community Development Director Eric Taylor, will meet with the builder, Lars Howlett, on July 21. Howlett has constructed labyrinths all over the world, Doyle-Schnacker said.

“He’s really good at taking the surrounding vibe of the area and making sure that’s incorporated,” she said. “He takes in the entire aesthetics, not just building the labyrinth itself.”

Distinct from a maze in that it’s a 2-dimensional structure that’s intended to help people find their way, a labyrinth is used for many things, Doyle-Schnacker said. Some hold weddings in labyrinths, others have games and dances — hopscotch was based on a labyrinth, she said — but primarily people walk a labyrinth for contemplation, she said.

“As you’re walking you must watch where you’re going, basically,” Doyle-Schnacker said. “You have nothing else you can think about while you’re walking.”

According to Doyle-Schnacker, the Beachfront Labyrinth Project dates back to 2012, when the city held a town hall meeting for its Beachfront Park Master Plan. She said several residents proposed a labyrinth for Beachfront. When the Redwood Happiness Initiative was formed in 2013, Doyle-Schnacker said the members found out that people not only wanted to be connected to others in their community, they wanted a place downtown that could lend itself to quiet and calm.

Labyrinths can also be an economic driver, Doyle-Schnacker said. She noted that tour groups in Europe and the U.S. will spend a month to two months exploring a pathway of labyrinths. They’ll also spend a couple days exploring the communities that house those labyrinths.

According to Doyle-Schnacker, one tour group visited a labyrinth in Santa Rosa before heading on to another one in Ashland, Oregon.

“We’ll be unique because our labyrinth will be a legacy labyrinth,” Doyle-Schnacker said. “It will be connected through materials from other labyrinths from around the world — rainforest bark from Brazil, some shells from Australia, that kind of thing. And we’ll share whichever materials are unique to us with the next labyrinth built around the world.”

Other supporters of the project include Sunrise Rotary and a variety of local businesses, Doyle-Schnacker said. She said project proponents will reach out to tribal members and the Hmong community to create a space that’s diverse and reflects everyone’s vision.

Proponents of the Beachfront Labyrinth Project have set up temporary labyrinths and have taken donations at recent community events. According to Doyle-Schnacker, the project needs $30,000 for the first two phases, which includes the design specifications and building the labyrinth itself. The third phase will include landscaping the area, she said.

So far, about $5,000 in donations for the project are being housed at the Wild Rivers Community Foundation, Doyle-Schnacker said. She said two anonymous donors gave $1,000 each last month and there are commitments from people who will match donations once the project’s proponents raise $10,000, Doyle-Schnacker said.

The Redwood Happiness Initiative is also matching funds, Doyle-Schnacker said. She said the initiative has raised $3,000 for the labyrinth project.

Doyle-Schnacker said proponents of the labyrinth project are also encouraging people to reach out if they want to take part in putting it together. For more information, visit redwoodshappinessinitiative.com. Donations for the project can be made through the Wild Rivers Community Foundation, she said.

Reach Jessica Cejnar at jcejnar@triplicate.com .

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