The Bozeman Public Library will hold a grand opening for its new outdoor labyrinth today, a project that’s been in the works for three years.

Local home builder David Kingman first proposed the idea in 2016. He had just moved to Bozeman and was spending a lot of time at the library. Kingman had learned about labyrinths from his wife, Rocel. He thought one of the maze-like structures would be a nice addition to the library grounds.

During a five-year battle with ovarian cancer, Rocel found comfort in walking the meandering loops of a labyrinth. She has passed away, but Kingman was inspired by her enthusiasm to start this project in Bozeman.

Kingman and the library’s foundation have raised about $80,000 to pay for the project’s design and construction. Visitors can walk through the circular labyrinth located between the library and Peets Hill. It’s made of reclaimed granite cobble, sandstone and creeping thyme.

Kingman said some people enjoy labyrinths for their meditative nature and others enjoy examining the architecture. Labyrinths are different from mazes, and are not meant to be difficult to navigate.

“It’s meant to be inclusive; it can be whatever someone wants it to be,” Kingman said.

Kingman collaborated with Shara Kees of Field Studio Landscape Architects to design the labyrinth. Kees said labyrinths can be found in a variety of cultures and sometimes are symbolic.

“Labyrinths are found all over the world, and there’s a deep, deep history of them,” she said.

Kees said the labyrinth is the first step in building a “comprehensive healing garden” at the library. Planners have looked at building a reflexology path in the same area in the future. Small stones would be placed along a path for people to walk on and massage their feet.

The library will offer guided tours of the labyrinth at 11 a.m., today after the grand opening, and three times in July.

“It’s just really a gift for the community,” Kees said.

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