Piece by piece, the "Daybreak" sculpture is coming together, each step closer to the final product.

This past week, a stone planter was built around the sculpture's base and filled with mulch. Like it has in the past, the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation helped with this portion as well, donating money to have it built, according to Natalie Weeks, co-coordinator on the Cultural Arts Board.

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The next step, she said, was to add flowers.

"It's kind of like a flower box and it will be planted with flowers or shrubs," she said. "It won't be just dirt."

Richard Brink designed the sculpture, which sits along Route 24 off of the Ma & Pa Trail in Bel Air, for a Bel Air public art contest in 2008, getting inspiration from his college sketches of barn-type structures.

Although Brink lost that contest, Weeks saw something she liked in the sculpture and pursued it. From that point, a relationship began between several organizations to fund the sculpture.

Weeks worked with the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Maryland State Arts Council to help bring Brink's design to reality. The arts council funded a portion of the $25,000 project and Dr. Richard Streett donated $6,500 to help as well.

Streett not only donated money, but also pieces for the sculpture from his family's former Spenceola cannery, which sat on an old railroad in Forest Hill. In many ways, this sculpture represents several elements of Harford County's canning industry past.

The 30-foot steel structure features a red building outline, resembling a barn, topped by a red-orange sun. Parallel blue bars, actual railroad pieces donated by Streett, according to Weeks, split the sculpture and appear to be heading toward a junction in a railroad.

The blue, too, represents rippling water, Brink said when it was installed in early April.

With the new base installed, Weeks said she hopes to see more improvements in the future. They will be landscaping and seeding grass, she said, as well as planting flowers once the weather cools.

She also wants spotlights to be installed so drivers can see it at night.

"I don't know that that will be up right away, but my hope is that it will be lit up at night," she said. "If we get that, it'll be terrific. If we don't, it's OK."

Weeks also said they plan on installing signs around the sculpture, describing it and also featuring information on Harford County's agricultural past. Once those are installed, she said, they will hold a dedication ceremony.

On Friday, Brink, too, said he would be at that ceremony and had also given his suggestions to the Parks and Recreation Department for signs.

Even without the additions, Weeks said she has been getting positive feedback about the sculpture, with people saying it is a "welcome thing to see" as they travel on Route 24.

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"It's a really nice visible piece of outdoor sculpture," she said, "which kind of signifies the agricultural culture that is still vibrant here in Harford County and it's past and the importance of the Ma & Pa Railroad."

Brink also had good things to say about it thus far, having seen the new flower base.

"I'm really pleased," he said. "It's coming along just great, better than I could have hoped."

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