Pictured above are shots take before and after the wall below the Richardson Trestle was painted. The next phase of the project will take place this weekend and will be followed by community involvement in spattering the wall; then it will be sealed to protect it against weather effects.
By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
It is probably safe to say that every community has work to do to make it better – whether is it large or small and no matter where it is located. Just find a starting point and work from there!
The current administration in Shinnston has been concerned about dilapidated property and has made an effort to begin cleaning things up a bit. The City is also currently sponsoring a ‘beautification” contest for residents to earn a cash prize for working to make a visible change in their property. Likewise, another project has been undertaken by Councilman Andrew Kisamore to change the appearance of a particular spot as people enter the downtown area.
Mr. Kisamore said, “I always look at the wall near the Richardson Trestle of the Rail Trail that runs through out community. I remember thinking a couple of years ago that it would be a great place for a mural or to put some kind of signage that makes a statement about our community. I drew up some tentative plans and presented them to Council at a meeting a month or so ago and they were supportive of it. It was something I was willing to undertake it by myself, but with working and a family, I discovered I couldn’t do it alone. So I made a few contacts and got a few other people involved and we’ve begun.”
He reached out to Brad Riffee at the United Way and was told that it was a project they’d like to assist with during their United Way Day of Service. Plans were made, then postponed and rescheduled, and on Friday, June 28th several volunteers from the Harrison Power Station showed up to paint a white base coat on that wall along South Pike Street next to Seven Motors.
The Shinnston Police Department, along with Mayor Patrick Kovalck, City Manager Chad Edwards, and Kisamore himself were on hand to help with traffic control while work was being done.
Phase two of the project will be done July 12th and 13th, when Randy Scott of Arthur Designs, LLC will install peelable vinyl lettering on the white base coat that will spell out a community ‘brand’ that Kisamore designed.
“The next step will involve the community. We will announce the day as it draws nearer, but Ace Hardware will provide us with paint to fill water balloons and we’ll allow kids and adults in the community to throw those balloons at the wall which will give it an abstract, spattered look. We hope the community will get involved in that part and make it a collaborative community effort. It will take only about an hour to do this phase.”
Kisamore noted that this seemed to be the most cost-efficient way to enhance that wall that was beginning to look poorly maintained and grungy.
“When the spattered paint has dried, Mr. Scott will return and remove the vinyl layer so that the lettering is clearly visible. That will be followed by a coat of sealant which, thanks to a contact made by Brad Riffee, is being donated by Sherwin Williams. When all of this is completed, I’d like to add some solar powered lighting so that it will be illuminated at night,” Kisamore added.
Councilman Kisamore is not a Shinnston native; he grew up in Canaan Valley, WV, but since moving here, he has come to love the area and the community and says he has some other projects he is looking into in the future.
“I studied architecture and I love to dabble in art when I have time. The next vision I’m looking at is perhaps doing something with the lawn area across the street that is adjacent to Pizza Express and is property owned by the City,” he continued. I have traveled a lot and seen many areas, and I’ve seen that having some ‘eye candy’ in a community adds interest. I really enjoy taking on projects like this even if each one has to be addressed a little at a time. I, of course, will consult with Council before proceeding with any of the things I have in mind, but they have been very supportive and on board with my suggestions thus far.”
It is never hard to find people who grumble and complain about what doesn’t look presentable, but Kisamore took positive action to bring about solutions.
He concluded, “I love waking up every morning and driving through this town. It has really become my home and a place that I love, so anything I can do – no matter how small – to make it better is something I will continue to pursue.”
Helen Keller once said, “Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.” Kisamore’s hope is that the community – its residents, churches, and civic groups – will join his effort to make a visible difference in how the community is presented and strive to enhance even the most minute of its features.